Lobbying for HIV Cure

The first piece of work I've posted on this page is a form letter that I sent to several popular HIV related online media. It was through efforts like this that the largest online platform dedicated to the topic of HIV finally gave-in and added a 'cure' button with additional information and points of interest to their site! 

Topic: Increase visibility of 'Cure' information on site

Firstly let me thank you for a clear, informative and fresh site dedicated to providing info about HIV to people.

I have written once before about this, and appreciate the response I receive. I was told that in the topics section, a link related to the 'cure' would appear, and it has.

However I do think that considering how the landscape of HIV research has changed dramatically in the last few years, the following facts should be made more easily available and more prominently featured - especially in places like AidsMap - where many who are newly diagnosed go. 

What is now fact is that:
1. It has been proven that HIV can be cured 
2. There are various methods currently being developed to practically implement a cure (functional or sterilizing).
3. A man has been cured of HIV

If for no other reason, perhaps put yourself in the shoes of a newly diagnosed person. Of course, they need to know about meds - it's widely known that meds are important to keep HIV at bay. Yet personally, if it weren't for my diagnosis coinciding with this unique point in the history of HIV research in which it's been proven that the virus can be cured and that methods to cure HIV (functionally and via eradication) are underway in a more significant way than ever before - I doubt I would have chosen to stay alive.

Instead of burying this substantiated and most important news under the rug, HIV media should be the 1st to promote the news and rally support behind these promising scientific efforts towards mass roll-out of an HIV cure.  If the hope for the cure (which is no longer a fantasy) saves just one life, then isn't it worth it? If just one newly diagnosed person, as I was, chooses to stay alive in part because there really is factual and concrete data about a cure for HIV - should that not alone justify giving the 'Cure' aspect much more prominence on the site? 

The second piece of work I've posted on this page is an example of the many comments I have written in support of an HIV Cure.

Agree with all the comments about the cure being closer than ever, because I think that's a matter of fact now. Another breakthrough announcement was made recently on the cure front, look up 'antibody pgt 128', which is effective at curing 70 percent of hiv strains "Although the antibody does not provide a solution to all HIV infected people around the world, scientists are optimistic about finding a potential lifetime cure because of the success of this research."excerpt from Cornell Daily Sun!

The third piece of work I've posted on this page appears to be a draft of a blog post I wrote for an HIV Positive social media network (that allowed its members to have their own blogs). This particular blog seemed to describe my chance encounter with the Berlin Patient (warning; I'm sure this draft is the unedited version) that followers on my blog on that site saw before the site was shut-down.

Just met the first man ever cured of ___

I was heading to the Castro on the Muni this morning. Just a normal day. When I woke up this morning I told myself I will not stay in my hotel room doing nothing, I was going to get up and do some work. Not think about my Ex. Practice some impulse control...

I get some coffee from Starbucks. Iced Venti Americano, no room.

Chose not to smoke a cigarette on the way to the Muni station. Pay for my ticket. Go down the elevator. Not too many people. Chose not to walk down to find a empty spot in the crowd awaiting the next train.. no, I'll stay put, no need to be fidgety. 

So I planted myself right there at the beginning of the Powell street Muni station, waiting on a train going outbound to Castro. 

Then a man in front of me turned around momentarily, as if he were looking behind him instinctively or reflectively.. At first it didn't hit me. But in a couple seconds, something came to my mind. He looks a lot like Timothy Brown. The Berlin Patient. The first man ever in history, cured of HIV. The man who once had HIV.

He was wearing a nice black Diesel looking jacket with some stained dark grey jeans. How could I be sure it was him? 

The train pulled up and I followed behind him. He sat down, there weren't to many seats open so I stood up about 6 feet behind him. He pulled out some paperwork and began reading it. I had my reading glasses in my pocket and put them on and bashfully took a quick glance... saw the letters HIV.. it was him.

The train arrived to Csatro station, I was glad that he got off there since I wouldn't have to feel like more of a stalker than I already did.

When I excited the station, I stood on the top of the platform right beneath the big gay mecca flag on Castro street. 

He walked towards me. I smiled and  said, "Mr. Brown?" He looked at me, and smiled kindly and responded, "yes?"

I managed to tell him, without being overly excited, that if it wasn't for him, I'm not sure if I would be here, and that I was here in SF to screen for Sangamo's phase 2 gene therapy trial. It was a very amazing yet brief meeting. I didn't want to overload him. But we exchanged numbers and he somehow gave me more encouragement and reinforcement than I had received in a long time.

The last piece of work I'm posting here today is a copy of a letter I wrote to an amazing scientist focused on cure research. He not only is one of the only scientists I've ever seen who writes press releases on the topic, but was also kind enough to respond (however I won't breach his privacy to the extent of posting it here).

Dear ###,

I am writing to let you know that your articles on the advances in HIV Cure developments mean a lot to me and countless others.

For the last 11 months since my diagnosis, I have searched google 'news' several times a day for the latest news about "hivcure", and I have been reading your articles with earnest.

Please know that your work in this area is of extreme importance to me and so many others, millions, billions of people. 

Thank you, and if there is anything at all I can do as someone recently infected (1.5 years ago) to help in any research or with any of the efforts you know of towards a cure, please enlist me.

I will do anything to support this cause, not only for my own selfish reasons (of hopefully being cured soon), but for the sake of the millions of others infected and the billions at risk of being so.

Right after my diagnosis I attempted to participate in the gene therapy study with Sangamo at their clinic in San Francisco, but was unfortunately denied because they were looking for people who's T-Cell's were over 500 and were treatment naive (I was treatment naive but my t-cells were 390). I am now on Atripla but still eager to participate in any cure study available to me based on the research such as that of what you report in your articles.

Again, thank you so much again for your news articles and efforts towards an HIV cure. You have our utmost support!


Stephan Smith
Press Director,
InfoStream Group
PS: I work as a full time press director for a dating site and am constantly working with news stations (national, international, local, etc.) and would offer my time and assistance in any way you may find beneficial if ever at no charge of course, please let me know if there's an opportunity for me to help in any way. Thank you