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Old 11-13-2005, 12:10 PM   #1
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Briton claims to have beaten HIV virus

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man claimed on Sunday to be the first person to become clear of the HIV virus, which can lead to AIDS, after earlier testing positive for it.

If true, the case of 25-year-old Andrew Stimpson -- reported in two British newspapers -- could reveal more about the virus and possibly even provide a breakthrough in the search for a cure for HIV/AIDS.

A spokeswoman for Chelsea and Westminster Heathcare Trust in London confirmed that one of its patients had tested negative for HIV about 14 months after testing positive in May 2002.

"He did test positive and then later negative, but in terms of curing himself, we don't know because he hasn't been back for further tests," said the spokeswoman.

"We very much want him to return so we can try to find out what exactly has happened," she added.

There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS, responsible for the deaths of millions of people and especially virulent in parts of Africa. Some experts say there are nearly 35 million sufferers around the world.

Scientists cite anecdotal accounts from Africa of people shaking off HIV but say they have never seen firm evidence.

"I feel truly special and lucky," Stimpson, who is a sandwich maker, told the News of the World. "All the doctors have told me it is a medial miracle that I am clear."

Patrick Dixon, a doctor and HIV expert, told Sky News this was the first time someone had kicked the virus out of their body.

"(AIDS) is a hugely significant problem which at moment we have no cure for," said Dixon.

"It's just possible inside this man's body is a biological key. If we can find an antibody that he's produced that has enabled him to kick this virus out, we could in theory find a way of engineering that antibody and giving it as some sort of treatment," he said.

The hospital spokeswoman said subsequent DNA checks had proven there had been no mix-up in the identity of the patient and the HIV tests, but said she did not know whether there could have been any other error in the original test.

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Old 11-13-2005, 12:17 PM   #2
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I question whether he was a false positive originally. "HIV tests" merely test for antibodies, not actual viruses. Perhaps those "antibodies" were mistaken for something else.


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Old 11-13-2005, 12:37 PM   #3
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It would be quite interesting if this guy actually had it and beat it. And hopefully doctors can come closer to a cure. I have my doubts though.
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Old 11-13-2005, 04:00 PM   #4
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I am feeling quite sceptical about all of this at the mo. But I've just been reading the article in the Mail on Sunday (one of the uk papers mentioned in the article).

The hospital retested both samples, and DNA tested them again to check that they were indeed a positive and a negative, and that both samples were indeed from him. It's all very strange.

He really needs to go back to the hospital for further tests. All of this happened a while ago - he had the negative test back in July, after which he assumed (as one would) that initially he had been given a false positive. As a result, he filed a lawsuit against the NHS trust that diagnosed him as HIV positive. That's when they re-did all the tests, which legally proved that there was no case against the NHS trust, as the diagnosis had been correct. They wrote to him on 10 October to tell him that there had been no mistake made, and urged him to come get further tests done, as it was important that this was investigated. That was over a month ago and he hasn't had any more tests yet. In the paper he is proudly saying how he is hoping that he holds the key for some hope in the fight against HIV, but if this is the case, why didn't he rush straight back to the hospital to get research going ASAP?

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Old 11-13-2005, 06:04 PM   #5
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Interesting. Is this the first case of someone supposedly beating the virus?

I once read an article either in Atlantic Monthly or the New Yorker (can't remember) about HIV in Africa and they mentioned a group of Ugandan prostitutes who never get HIV, despite probably having the greatest chance of pretty much everyone in the world of getting it. A bit different than getting it and beating it, but odd nonetheless.
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Old 11-13-2005, 06:27 PM   #6
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Originally posted by melon
"HIV tests" merely test for antibodies, not actual viruses.
That's not true.

Some of them (like p24 for example) test for the presence of viral antigens.
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Old 11-14-2005, 01:37 AM   #7
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I'm not sure he'd be a first to have claimed that he no longer has HIV. I've heard of an American basketballer (ages ago) who beat it, I can't remember his name but.

I'd like to think that maybe this guy has been cured, but the HIV virus mutates so rapidly that its doubtful that whatever happened to him will work for everybody.
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:52 AM   #8
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Originally posted by Rinn
I've heard of an American basketballer (ages ago) who beat it, I can't remember his name

Do you mean Magic Johnson? If so as far as I know he still is positive for HIV, he just has never developed full blown AIDS. He seems so healthy, I think he may have been one of the first people to get the "cocktail". Of course he has the financial resources and the fame to gain access to whatever treatment he wants.
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Old 11-14-2005, 05:02 PM   #9
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The Associated Press
Monday, November 14, 2005; 11:31 AM

LONDON -- AIDS experts called for more tests on a British man who claims his body has rid itself of the virus that causes AIDS.

Andrew Stimpson, 25, told two British newspapers that he tested positive for HIV in August 2002, but that tests 14 months later came back negative. He told the Mail on Sunday, "I can't help wondering if I hold the cure for AIDS."

Stimpson also was interviewed by News of the World, which said it paid for the story, a common practice in Britain, but declined to reveal how much. The Mail on Sunday could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare Trust, which conducted Stimpson's HIV tests, confirmed he had had a positive test followed by a negative one, but would not say this meant he was cured.

"This is a rare and complex case," the hospital said in a statement. "When we became aware of Mr. Stimpson's HIV negative test results we offered him further tests to help us investigate and find an explanation for the different results.

"So far Mr. Stimpson has declined this offer."

Stimpson told the Mail on Sunday he was happy to submit to further tests.

"This appears to be a highly unusual case and without further tests it really is impossible to draw any conclusions for people living with HIV," said Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust.

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