Kai Brothers – The man who outlived HIV, the beast within..!

Kai Brothers – The man who outlived HIV, the beast within..!

Kai Brothers – The man who battled the HIV in his blood for 30 years. We have heard about people who are late respondents to HIV but Kai is one among the handful whose blood is magical enough to secrete a protein that could cure for HIV.Yes, it is true.

It takes us back to the times in 1981, when Kai moved to San Francisco to join one of the world’s largest gay communities, where he met his first love. He was happier than ever as he could happily walk down the streets with his partner, contemporary to the advent of HIV taking lives of many. Kai didn’t have a slightest idea that he could have been infected with HIV.

Only in 1986 when Kai got a request from San Francisco blood bank where he was a donor in early 80s, asking him to get a test done for HIV, he realized that he might be infected with HIV through his first boyfriend. He denied to get a test done but this ambiguity took a toll on him.

He could not survive with the doubt of life and gave the test in 1989 which resulted positive for HIV. Kai was devastated to see his friends die with AIDS. He emptied all his savings, thinking he wouldn’t live long but to his astonishment he had hardly seen any symptoms.

In 1999, on one of his friend’s suggestions he approached Dr.Levy, a pioneering AIDS researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. By then, the virus could have come into light as the virus replicates in the body, it mutates and battles over the immune system.But Kai has this drop of luck in his blood, his white blood cells were keeping the virus under control, which happens to only ten in millions of people.

Levy believed this unidentified protein is responsible for controlling HIV. Isolating and harnessing it might allow scientists to produce a revolutionary HIV treatment.

Brothers was ready to let the doctors study his blood for further research which would help his fellow mates to lessen their sufferings. Till date, he has given blood for more than 150 times and travels twice every year across states to give his blood for research at medical institutes.

Whenever he gets out to give his blood he thinks about his friends, to put in his words – ‘This is for you. And I wish you were still here.’

As Kai was under observation, lately the doctors discovered that his white blood cell count is going down and viral load count is increasing rapidly. Though the doctors were able to control both the markers, Brothers now faces a vexing choice. He has never taken antiretroviral drugs, which suppress HIV and have prolonged countless lives. But if he starts taking the drugs, his body will stop producing the substance that has long protected him.

Kai knows he is counting now, HIV is inching closer to causing him harm, but he also knows he has an advantage that doctors could harness to help others. But his dilemma mirrors a quandary for medicine.

So, here raises the question – Can the drugs which are efficient to prolong lives of many, destroy the ability of human immune system to fight against the virus? With answers still in dark, the conclusion is “The more we learn the science the more inquisitive and complex it turns into”.

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