by Gabby Hart
Brandon Cox an HIV-positive comedian who lost his mother to AIDS when she was 26 years old. (Courtesy Brandon Cox)
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — A huge step forward this week in the fight against HIV and AIDS with scientists announcing that a second person could be cured.
Brandon Cox Sanford is a Las Vegas comedian who was born with HIV, his mother died from AIDS when she was 26.
Brandon believes she would still be alive if she wasn’t in denial about her diagnosis.
So now he uses his experiences and talent to make people laugh and help those living with disease feel more comfortable talking about it.
He calls it the “keeping it positive” movement.
“Being able to speak publicly about it, I can also teach people about HIV as well as entertain them,” Brandon said.
He went on to explain that living with HIV isn’t a death sentence.
“I want to make sure people understand that because you got HIV or you’re born with it doesn’t mean you’re going to die. It’s not the 80’s anymore. We have so much treatment and resources at our fingertips now,” he said.
The Foundation for AIDS Research also known as AmfAR announced Tuesday that an HIV patient in London could be completely cured of the virus.
“It is possible to nearly or completely eliminate HIV from the body of an infected person,” said Rowena Johnston, VP of research for AmfAR
AmfAR says the London patient has been in remission and without antiretroviral medicine for 18 months now.
That’s the longest remission on record since a patient in Berlin was cured 10 years ago. In both cases, the patients received stem cell transplants.
“I think it will make people like my mom happy to know that people can actually be cured,” Brandon said when hearing about the cure.
However, amfAR says the research behind what cured those two patients is in the early stages, and there’s still work to be done.
“Because we have only one case of a confirmed cure right now, amfAR scientists are working on not only how to cure HIV but how to confirm that HIV is cured,” Johnston said.
AmfAR also reports a man in Germany has gone into remission after a similar transplant procedure, although he’s only been off treatment for about 4 months.
In the meantime, Brandon Sanford continues to use his voice to raise awareness and inspire those living with HIV.
On March 13 at 8 p.m. he’ll be performing at Rick’s Rollin Smoke Barbeque & Tavern on Las Vegas Boulevard.