I Hugged The Berlin Patient—Goosebumps on #WorldAIDSDay

This is one of those nights when I just leave the TV on until I fell asleep.
But while I constantly changing channels, some ad on MTV caught my attention.

And so I Googled.

Timothy Ray Brown is the first person ever cured of HIV.

Diagnosed with the disease in 1995, Brown had to start using antiretroviral drugs to stave off HIV for more than a decade, but then he received another staggering diagnosis: acute myeloid leukemia.

Brown at his home photographed by Dan Winters. 

Brown’s doctors decided to use radiation and chemotherapy to wipe out his immune system, then rebuild it with donated stem cells. But they added a game-changing twist to this standard treatment: They deliberately picked a donor who was immune to HIV.

About 1 percent of Caucasians carry a gene mutation that triggers this immunity. In scientific terms, this means their cells don’t have CCR5—a protein that opens the door for HIV to enter blood cells. For Brown, it meant a new chance at life.

Brown received two stem cell transplants that knocked out his cancer and transferred the genetic variation to his immune system.

I Hugged The Berlin Patient is a documentary film about a young spirited cancer survivor from Singapore, Edgar Tang, who spontaneously took a quest to find the first man in the world who's actually cured of HIV—Timothy Ray Brown.

Together with his old friend Dzul Sungit behind the camera, Edgar went on a trip and started a raw and reflective exploration spanning three continents to seek the medical marvel's life in Berlin, the doctor who cured Timothy, and his friends.

As details emerge about Timothy’s ordeal, beginning with his first risky bone-marrow transplant in 2007, Edgar finds lyrical parallels to his own recovery from Stage III Hodgkins’ Lymphoma that same year.

Armed with only his instinct and quirky personality, Edgar fleshes out an illogical plan to travel farther, just to hug the man.

While the film culminates on a powerful meeting between the two survivors, it brings hope and light to a reality where stigma exists to most people and those who are living with HIV.

Now watch the trailer, that gave me goosebumps!

To commemorate the World AIDS Day (December 1), the documentary film will premiere at The Grand Cathay, Singapore on December 2 where net proceeds will be donated to Action for AIDS.

Tickets are priced at standard viewing for $30 and VIP for $100,
available HERE or visit berlinpatientfilm.com.

Unfortunately there is no schedule, nor will there ever be a premiere of the film in the Philippines.
Sad, I know.

For information on HIV Testing, Education, FAQs and Prevention in the Philippines,
visit www.loveyourself.ph


  1. It's good to know that there is a cure for HIV but the question is if its affordable and available here in our country. Sadly many people suffer from this disease :(

  2. Wow! This is great news. A cure for those who have HIV, hope this disease will end because many children are affected with this.

  3. Never knew that someone had already been cured totally of HIV in the person of Timothy Brown. And I guess Hope is reinstated for the HIV patients.

  4. The treatment done to Timothy Brown is quite drastic, they had to destroy his entire immune system then rebuild it from scratch. But there is now hope for HIV patients, next question is, is it affordable?
    -Wanderer Juan

  5. Let's celebrate for there is a cure na pala for this dreaded disease. It would be great if the docu film can be available sa atin.

  6. I always knew that there's always hope in everything and this one is a great example. Now there's hope for HIV patients to be cured and live a normal life again. :)

  7. This is an inspiring development when it comes to HIV and AIDS. Stem cell technology really can help once its perfected.

  8. that dreaded disease really alarms most of us nowadays esp the young ones. 100% this will inspire those who ahve the disease to keep on hoping that soon the cure will be obtained. :) Thank God for science:)


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