The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

This Positive Life: Life After Being Cured of HIV

An Interview With Timothy Brown

September 5, 2012

 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3  |  4 

[Timothy's partner, Ralfka Gonzalez, joins in the conversation.]

Ralfka Gonzalez: I'm Ralfka Gonzalez. I'm an artist, a painter. I have a children's book out called My First Book of Proverbs. I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but I've lived in Philadelphia. I've had public art in Philadelphia at the Convention Center; San Francisco; Oaxaca, Mexico; Albuquerque, New Mexico and Chicago for a little bit.

Olivia Ford: Tell me how you've come into the life of this gentleman here.

Ralfka Gonzalez: We actually met on someone's Facebook blog post. I thought he was in Berlin, you know? We met at the Main Library in San Francisco and had some coffee. Then a week later we went to the "Hunky Jesus" Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence contest in Dolores Park. He surprised me by kissing me. And it's all been crazy since then -- since I'm positive, and he's negative.

Olivia Ford: Timothy, how is it for you to be in a relationship with someone who is positive when historically, since you've been positive, you made that choice, but now you're ostensibly an HIV-negative person? How does that change your relationship?

Timothy Brown: Well, originally, I thought that I was immune to all kinds of HIV, because that's what one doctor told me. So we didn't worry about that. The last relationship I was in, the other person was negative. So we didn't really worry about that, either.

Since then, I have been concerned that I could get reinfected. In Philadelphia, I came across female condoms. So we started using those, and they're great.

Olivia Ford: Good plug there for female condoms.

Ralfka Gonzalez: Yeah. Female condoms rock.

Olivia Ford: Awesome. That's good to hear. So, now, tell me a little bit about the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation, and what your vision is, as far as what the search for a cure, and eventually finding a cure, is going to look like.

Timothy Brown: We grounded the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation with the help of the World AIDS Institute. It's the only foundation in the entire country that has ever had the cure of HIV as its primary reason for existence.

I hope that everyone in the world who is afflicted by this disease can be cured of it, no matter where they live, no matter what their socioeconomic background is, no matter what their color is, their sexual orientation is. I want everyone to be cured.

Ralfka Gonzalez: He's insisting on a cure in my lifetime, and his lifetime and your lifetime.

Olivia Ford: Thank you so much for doing that. Let me ask you this: If you could change one thing about the past several years of your experience with being out in the public as the first man to be functionally cured of HIV, and all of your experiences with that, what would it be?

Timothy Brown: I haven't always been treated the way that I should have been by some organizations -- I won't name them -- but a lot of times, they don't look out for my --

Ralfka Gonzalez: -- best interests, for your health.

Timothy Brown: For my best interests, yeah, for my health, for my financial well-being. The fact that I live in these pretty horrible conditions is despicable for the person that has given people so much hope.

Ralfka Gonzalez: Housing is so important to people's well-being. When you have organizations that have a budget of $23 million and the soup kitchens that we go to are empty, you know. The housing lists are really long and when you finally get into a place, the places are filthy. There's so much. It's just really hard to see so much money wasted sometimes. The people that really need the help are treated like animals. I would love to see the CEOs of a lot of these organizations sleep under the same conditions that Timothy has to sleep in.

I just find it disgusting that the soup kitchens are empty, but these people are making so much money. And a lot of people who are working in these organizations aren't even HIV positive. I would love to see some of these people live the life that most people with HIV and AIDS have to live every day, even just for one night. That's worth the $200,000 or $300,000, or however much they make a year.

Timothy Brown: I certainly don't want to say -- and I've said that being the only person in the world cured of HIV, or, hopefully, not the only person, the first person of many, I want everyone to be cured, so the numbers will continue to go up and up and up. I don't want to say that I deserve more than everyone else. I want everyone else to have better living conditions than they do.

Ralfka Gonzalez: Timothy does so much work. He's constantly going to the doctor, and all of the scientific results are open to everybody. So if he just keeps doing that. And I just want to say he's really great, and really down to Earth. I hope that other people understand that he's really humble about this. It's an important thing to cure AIDS and to have research that's out in the mainstream. The Timothy Ray Brown Foundation is here to find the cure, and to find alternative ways of healing. We have to start thinking out of the box. That's really important.

Olivia Ford: Well, with that, I think we have to bring this interview to a close. It's wonderful to speak to you, Timothy, and to you, Ralfka. I'm very glad that you, with your compassion and conscience, are two of the faces of this new chapter in the search for an HIV cure within all our lifetimes.

Olivia Ford is the community manager for and

Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.
 < Prev  |  1  |  2  |  3  |  4 

More From This Resource Center

Undetectable Viral Load and HIV Prevention: What Do Gay and Bi Men Need to Know?

Do HIV-Negative Gay Men Need Condoms if They're on PrEP? Here's What I Tell My Patients

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
No Proof of New HIV Cure, Despite Headlines -- Here's What We Know
The Only Cases of HIV Cure or Remission
Beyond the Berlin Patient: How Researchers Are Now Trying to Cure More HIV-Positive People (Video)
What Would an HIV Cure Mean for You?
More Research on a Cure for HIV/AIDS

Reader Comments:

Comment by: scott (london ) Mon., Nov. 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm UTC
Im gay and enjoy my life i have been tested about ten times always come back negative .. u have to protect yourself always use condoms ... sex is fun and loving but please eveyone out there be carefull .. and for all hiv people i hope medication improves in the years ahead ..
Reply to this comment

Comment by: James (New jersey) Sun., May. 25, 2014 at 3:43 am UTC
Dr sebi proved in a us court of law in the 80's in a case filed against him by the us attorney general to have cured aids in 5 different people. He's also cured many other diseases including my favorite to cure herpes. Look it up. China is the only country to embrace his anti big pharma cures
Reply to this comment

Comment by: nakahima w (uganda east africa) Fri., Dec. 28, 2012 at 4:23 am UTC
finally it mighty be over but when will it reach Africa????????????????????????????????? Africa has suffered for long with this scourge of HIV can the research going on in the developed countries of the west be brought to Africa also
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Am Grace (Africa, Namibia) Fri., Oct. 19, 2012 at 7:47 am UTC
Am on treatment for 3 years now. Changed from AZT to Tonofevir in January thise year, but am still lossining wait in my legs and arms and my vains are showing out like wires and these for a woman its so embarrassing. Plz help, thanks
Reply to this comment

Comment by: Butch McKay (Ft. Walton Beach, FL) Tue., Oct. 16, 2012 at 12:47 pm UTC
Great interview Olivia. The highlight of the International AIDS Conference for me was getting not only to meet Tim, but to get to spend a little time with him and learn so much about his journey. He is truly an amazing man and remains so humble and grateful. He wants everyone cured and will work to make it happen. Thanks Tim, you are my hero. I pray you are successful in your quest for the cure. Bless you my friend.
Reply to this comment

Comment by: pedro (amsterdam) Sun., Oct. 14, 2012 at 4:11 am UTC
I got to know one of the researchers of Timothy's case in Berlin. He was actually kinda jackass mocking at his sexuality most of the time during his talk... I really hope better things come to him. He is truly a hope, given that big pharma wants to compromise with a cure instead of highly profitable antiretrovirals, which only a few have access to...
Reply to this comment

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.