The Portuguese man known as “the Lisbon patient” who was the oldest known person living with HIV has died after reaching his 100th birthday.
The man’s real name was not made public, but researchers gave him the pseudonym Miguel in case studies.
Miguel died last month aged 100, CTV News reported. He died peacefully in his sleep, his Portuguese doctors told the broadcaster.
HIV specialist Dr Giovanni Guaraldi had cared for Miguel and said his case is an important reminder that HIV is treatable.
CTV News profiled Miguel in December 2018, ahead of his 100th birthday earlier this year.
Miguel received a late HIV diagnosis in 2004 at a hospital near Lisbon. He was suffering rare forms of colitis and lymphoma and had a low CD4 count.
At the time, he was 84 years old and doctors estimated he had been HIV-positive for as long as a decade. He told doctors he had no idea he was living with HIV or under what circumstances he had contracted the virus.
But after learning his status, Miguel told his doctor he wanted to fight it. Dr Henrique Santos, Miguel’s GP at the time, recalled his concerns.
“When this patient came to me at this age, I had some doubts that he should be treated,” he said.
But Santos went ahead and started Miguel on an aggressive course of chemotherapy, followed by intensive antiretroviral medication.
“Everything went well, but it could have gone wrong,” he said.
“There could have been signs of toxicity. He could have not been able to bear the treatment.
“He could have missed the treatment. We had to consider those scenarios.”
‘Lisbon Patient’ achieved an undetectable viral load after treatment
After treatment, Miguel achieved a strong CD4 cell count and an undetectable viral load. He would live on for 15 years to reach his 100th birthday.
Dr Giovanni Guaraldi told CTV News of Miguel’s case, “I believe that the Lisbon Patient is a sign of hope for people living with HIV.
“You still have the capacity not just to live longer but to live in health, to experience healthy aging.
“He is a proof of principle for us researchers and doctors to say we can provide better care to people.”
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