Scientists have long known that there are certain individuals with a genetic variation that prevents HIV from entering their immune cells. These people are essentially immune to the most common forms of the virus that causes AIDS. Through a series of experiments scientists were able to locate a relatively common mutation in a gene known as CRR5 Delta 32. This variation is present in 4-16% of people of European descent, and is also present to a lesser extent in people of other ethnic backgrounds. In order to be fully immune, you need to be homozygous (carry two copies of the gene), but having a single copy of the gene does result in a partial resistance to HIV.
In 2007, a team of doctors in Germany performed a stem cell transplant on an HIV positive man named Timothy Ray Brown who also had leukemia. From the 60 matching donors, the doctors selected one that carried a homozygous copy of the gene mutation CRR5 Delta 32, which was believed by scientists to be conferring immunity to HIV.
After receiving the transplant, Timothy stopped taking his antiretroviral therapy. That was almost 5 years ago. Currently there is no detectable presence of HIV in Timothy's blood. Not only was he eventually cured of cancer, but also his HIV infection. He is now biologically immune to the virus for life.
We send you a kit that contains instructions for obtaining a cheek swab sample. Basically you rub a little brush against the inside of your cheek and then mail the brush to us. We culture your DNA from the cheek cells on the brush, and then test it specifically for the CRR5 Delta 32 variation. We do not test for anything else, and we dispose of all the samples immediately afterward. Once the results are in we email them to you. It's that simple.
Could you be immune to HIV? It's so easy to find out.
"People who are homozygous for the Δ32 mutation have natural resistance to HIV."