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Woman Has HIV For 23 Years, No Symptoms, Never Sick (Video)

Loreen Willenberg has had HIV for 23 years, but hasn't suffered any of the symptoms and doesn't take any medication.

Willenberg is one of the very rare cases, among 35 million world-wide HIV positive people, whose immune system has kept the virus from harming her (video below).

Willenberg, who lives in Sacramento, California, has been part of 13 studies to help scientists try to defeat HIV.

“In a clinical sense, I’m not progressing towards AIDS. I’m not progressing towards the disease stage," Willenberg told CBS Sacramento.

Dr. Richard Pollard says that these types of people (also called "HIV controllers"  or "elite controllers") have "such a effective way of reacting to the virus that it’s hard to even detect that they’re virus positive."

For most people, HIV destroys CD4 T-cells (white blood cells that fight disease), and overwhelms CD8 cells that normally fight viruses. When full blown AIDS kicks in, the body's immune system is so weakened that it cannot ward off infections.

However, elite controllers have very strong CD8 cells that regulate CD4 cells and stop the HIV cells from replicating. The tricky thing about HIV cells is that they are constantly evolving and changing, but elite controllers can quickly adapt.

"And finding the answer to that might lead to other kinds of research to try to develop techniques to make someone mimic these elite controllers,” Pollard added.

While doctors such as Pollard are committed to finding a cure for HIV, Dr. Den Trumbull, head of the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), appeared on VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program last week where he offered a different take on the AIDS crisis, noted

Trumbull took a phone call from a woman who wanted to talk about the high rates of HIV of people who are in the gay "lifestyle."

Trumbull replied:

Men who have sex with men, MSM, that group would be called. The CDC clearly indicates in all the research, and we actually posted some of the more recent statistics on Facts About Youth website, that it’s that population in which AIDS is unfortunately and sadly thriving.

And yet the push is more to find a vaccine, to use condoms, to, but I truly believe that when we are practicing a sexual act that goes against our natural design, it’s going to be very harmful to us emotionally, physically and, in the situation with AIDS, even infectious consequences will occur.

Sources: CBS Sacramento,
Image Credit: CBS Sacramento


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