Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

The woman who beat HIV
by Bob Roehr
2019-10-16

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Leading HIV researchers have come to believe that at least one person has found a way to naturally rid their body of the virus.

While they believe they understand a part of how that was accomplished, they may not know the entire story. And they are grappling with how to turn this information into better prevention, treatment and a cure for HIV.

Loreen Willenberg is that unique individual. She now lives in Sacramento and was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1992 during the worst of the plague, before any effective treatments were available. While she expressed antigens to the virus, indicating that she had been exposed and her immune system had responded, early HIV viral load tests could not detect the virus, and her CD4 counts did not decline. Later, sophisticated tests could detect fragments of HIV RNA in her cells but no complete virus that could reproduce.

She started participating in research studies in 2005—at UC Davis, UCSF, NIH, and the Ragon Institute in Boston, an affiliate of Harvard, MIT, and Massachusetts General Hospital—and quickly was labeled an HIV elite controller, a group that is less than half a percent of those infected who can control HIV without medication.

Willenberg became an advocate for research into elite controllers through a nonprofit she founded called the Zephyr Foundation. She counseled elite controllers and helped recruit them into research studies.

The first paper suggesting that she might have purged the virus was published in the journal Blood in 2012 by NIH researcher Stephen Migueles. It was a series of four case studies of elite controllers; Willenberg was the unnamed patient #4 who seemed to possess CD8 T-cells that were very active and effective in kiling HIV-infected cells.

Migueles only proposed that she had cleared the virus as a hypothesis to explain clinical data such as not being able to detect any replication competent virus in her blood or the reservoir of gut lymphoid tissue. He told Willenberg the only way he could prove the theory for sure is by looking for HIV in every tissue in her body, including her brain, with an autopsy.

Then this past summer, at an AIDS conference in Mexico City, Ragon researchers presented their data on a "San Francisco patient," suggesting that the person had achieved a "functional cure" without using any treatment. The data was from Willenberg.

And in retrospect, data from an HIV gut study at UC Davis in 2005 fit into a pattern consistent with her having already cleared the virus. Such a hypothesis had seemed inconceivable at the time.

Steve Deeks, a respected HIV researcher at UCSF, knows Willenberg through donations of blood, immune cells, and gut tissue she has made through the SCOPE study run by the university. He has come to believe her immune system has found a way to clear the virus. He says, "Once you meet her it's hard to forget her. She is very inspiring and very sincere, and very intelligent, and very educated, and very opinionated."

Willenberg's incredible 27-year journey from frightening diagnosis to veteran research advocate, and the first person believed to have beaten HIV, is told for the first time at https://leapsmag.com/exclusive-the-worlds-first-known-person-who-conquered-hiv-without-medical-intervention-goes-public.

Willenberg will be a featured speaker at an HIV cure community forum in San Francisco in November.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

ART EXPO CHICAGO slated to move forward 2020-04-06 - EXPO CHICAGO President/Director Tony Karman issued an open letter stating that ninth edition of the annual art event is still slated to run ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Coronavirus deaths, the CARES Act, Ritchie Torres, trans-youth study 2020-04-06 - Lorena Borjas—a transgender Latina activist who fought for immigrants and sex workers—died of COVID-19 at age 59 at Coney Island Hospital, CNN.com reported. ...


Gay News

Teachers Union: South Side Black residents need ready access to services 2020-04-06 - CHICAGO, April 6, 2020—Registered nurses at Provident Hospital are holding a media availability during their shift change to describe how the closure of ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2020 Wisconsin primary back on after initial delay [UPDATE] 2020-04-06 - On April 6, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled four to two, along party lines, to block Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' executive order to ...


Gay News

Historians seek responses from LGBTQ people 2020-04-06 - Writers/historians St Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen are again seeking responses—this time for a third volume of the Tell Me About ...


Gay News

Open Door may close amid staff firings, possible loss of funds 2020-04-04 - Open Door Health Center of Illinois ( formerly Open Door Clinic ) is teetering on the brink of closure due to financial issues, ...


Gay News

Cook County public health chief fired 2020-04-04 - Dr. Terry Mason—Cook County's public health chief, and a key player in the coordination of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic—has been fired, ...


Gay News

No word yet on Chicago Pride Parade, 'global' online celebration planned 2020-04-03 - As city officials and others craft an effective response to the coronavirus pandemic, decisions about various LGBT Pride events in June still loom. ...


Gay News

Lakeview Pantry, local groups address COVID-19 restaurant layoffs, hunger 2020-04-03 - CHICAGO — April 3, 2020 — Lakeview Pantry, Chicago's largest food pantry, has partnered with the Lavin Family Foundation and Cubs Charities to ...


Gay News

FDA loosens restrictions on gay men who donate blood 2020-04-02 - On April 2, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it would loosen some of the restrictions that have blocked gay men from ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.