An American man who became the first person in history to successfully be cured of HIV spoke to a room full of scientists and patients in Vancouver Wednesday. 

Timothy Ray Brown had been HIV-positive for 11 years when he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. He had a stem cell transplant the following year.

"It was from a donor who was immune to HIV. And the idea was that if my own immune system was replaced with one that was immune to HIV, I too would become immune to HIV," said Brown. "It had never been tried before, and I had it done, and it worked. So here I am, and I'm cured of HIV, and doing well."

Brown was invited to Vancouver by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS.

Director Dr. Zabrina Brumme said he's an inspiration.

"Tim represents the hope that one day we'll have an HIV cure that is accessible broadly and to all."

But she was quick to point out the cure that worked for Brown and one other patient with both HIV and leukemia earlier this year, won't work for everyone.

"The exact way in which Timothy and now the second patient, the London patient were cured, which was via a bone barrow transplant from a donor with a very, very rare but natural genetic mutation, it is very unlikely that that intervention is coming to a clinic anytime soon," Brumme said. "But that has inspired a large interest in the area of gene therapy and other approaches."

"It shows that there is a way medically to cure HIV," Brown said. "And if something happened once in medical science, it can happen again."