Local HIV/AIDS survivor cautiously optimistic about new breakthrough

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - An experimental treatment has possibly cured a second patient of the AIDS virus after a stem cell transplant. Members of a local AIDS support organization are excited by the progress in the field, but still cautious about celebrating the news.

Doctors in Britain say an HIV Positive man has become the second known adult worldwide to be cleared of the AIDS virus.

The unidentified British patient was cleared of the AIDS virus after receiving a bone marrow transplant three years ago from an HIV-resistant donor.

Paul Coleman Temple is a local HIV/AIDS survivor in Greenville. For the last 34 years, his body has been in a battle against itself.

"Twenty-nine years on medical treatment and care from Duke, love from my family and love from my community have kept me going," Temple said.

While Temple is excited by the progress in the research, he is skeptically optimistic.

"This disease, when it his its host, it sets up its own household, and has its own housekeeping," he said. "Not everything works for everybody. Each person that is on a cocktail is on an individual cocktail."

The Pitt County AIDS Service Organization, known as PiCASO, said the news about the experimental procedure is encouraging, but there is still a lot to be studied and learned about this stem cell transplant.

"So our message continues to remain prevention," PiCASO Board President Aaron Lucier said. "Therefore preventing the further spread of the disease and of course people getting tested so they know their status so they can get into the successful treatments that are out there."

Another positive thing about the medical success story is that it is putting the HIV and AIDS discussion back in the national spotlight, helping remind people about prevention and testing, Lucier said.