In a surprising and vulnerable interview with Josh Robbins, the only person ever cured of HIV, The Berlin Patient Timothy Ray Brown discusses his cure, PrEP, Michael Weinstein and gives an answer that might surprise you when asked if he would do it all again.
Timothy Ray Brown is no stranger to being the HIV Hero for many living with the virus, as he has successfully remained cured from HIV for many years, but that is the story that we all know. After meeting Timothy Ray Brown for the first time at the United States Conference on AIDS in San Diego, I asked him for an opportunity to interview him for imstilljosh.com. I wanted to ask him questions that I have been wondering since learning of his story–questions he may have never been asked. Nothing was off the table and throughout this lengthy, but compelling interview, I finally began to understand something that many of us have not considered: the pressure of being the only person ever cured. This is The Timothy Ray Brown Interview.
“I don’t want to be the only one cured of HIV. I want there to be many, many more.” – Timothy Ray Brown
The media gave Timothy Ray Brown a nickname: The Berlin Patient. Listen to Timothy explain why he prefers to be referred to by his real name and answer if he would come out again publicly as being cured.
After attending USCA 2014, Timothy Ray Brown decides to jump in the social media conversation happening on Twitter. Since I spoke at the conference on a panel encouraging storytelling via social media sponsored by Janssen, I give Timothy a hard time about the technology curb. Then Timothy shares an update about his foundation. He also shares what his friends suggested after he was cured of HIV.
“I really want to start a foundation. I’m tired of being the poster child for all these other organizations. I want to actually do something myself.” – Timothy Ray Brown
“I have to make sure other people are cured.” – Timothy Ray Brown
When asked if he felt he was waiting for his HIV cure to arrive on the date of the procedure? Timothy Ray Brown explains the issues surrounding actually being cured. I was a bit surprised by his explanation of the donor of the stem cells that rid his body of HIV not wanting to meet him. I ask Timothy Ray Brown if he would want to meet the donor? “Yes I would.” And then Timothy shares exactly what he would say to the person that donated the stem cells that led to him being cured of HIV.
“I was waiting to survive.” – Timothy Ray Brown
Timothy Ray Brown is PRO-PrEP! But would he consider taking PrEP now that he’s again HIV-negative to prevent HIV infection again? And I asked him about his thoughts about Michael Weinstein from Aids Healthcare Foundation. He shocks me here!
“I don’t like condoms.” – Timothy Ray Brown
“I wish he (Michael Weinstein) would stop…” – Timothy Ray Brown
Do you feel pressure to remain the face of hope?
“I do feel a certain amount of pressure.” – Timothy Ray Brown
“I feel guilty because I am cured.” – Timothy Ray Brown
When asked if he could choose to go through the cure process now knowing what he would experience, would he, Timothy gave a long pause and an answer I didn’t expect.
Here’s what Timothy Ray Brown says to those newly diagnosed with HIV.