HIV has been a threat to people of all ages on all continents longer before most of us, including myself, knew that the H5N1 existed. Despite common belief that there is no cure for the HIV yet; there may be a man who holds the key to unlock the mystery. Step forward Mr. Andrew Stimpson.
The 25-year-old Scot moved to London four years ago. He then had a long term relationship with Juan Gomez, 44; an HIV positive. In May 2002, Stimpson continuously felt tired, weak and feverish which led him to take three blood tests at the Victoria Clinic for Sexual Health in west London. The tests were negative, but he took more tests in August and this time it was positive.
The result brought him nightmares followed by suicidal depression; knowing that a cure was impossible. He took no special medication, and had been keeping dietary supplements instead. Each month he went for routine blood tests, had check ups on his liver, heart, and immune system. Doctors said his immune system remained strong; which was unusual for an HIV positive. It continued until October 2003, where he took another HIV test—and the result was negative. He afterwards took three more tests: all of them came back the same.
“There was a massive relief but I was also deeply confused. And the doctors seemed as confused as me. I thought the first positive tests must have been wrong,” said he, even admitted that he tried to sue the hospital for its inaccuracy in the testing system. But an investigation by the hospital proved otherwise.
“I can’t help wondering if I hold the cure for Aids. There are 34.9 million people with HIV and if I have something to contribute, then I am willing and ready to help,” Stimpson said.
Yet experts remain skeptical about the news. Dr Patrick Dixon, an expert from Acet, an international Aids group, said, “You have to be rock-solid sure that both samples came from the same person, no mix-up in the laboratory, no mistakes in the testing. This is the first well-documented case.” Those were absolutely important, as there have been several similar claims made in South Africa. Such a case, however, have never been heard in the UK, said a spokeswoman for the Terence Higgins Trust.
Dr Gert van Zyl, an Aids expert at Tygerberg Hospital, suggested that there have been cases that made it look as if there is something like a “passing HIV infection”. However, these were cases where the virus was contracted through a needle prick or during birth – cases where the virus passed on before it turned into a systemic infection of the body.
“In this case (Stimpson’s) it seems however that he had a well established infection for which he tested positive more than once and then became negative. In such a case, one has to ask whether the virus was in fact cured or whether our tests are no longer picking it up.”
The major point now is that Stimpson agrees to undergo further tests to reveal more about the working of the disease—and develop vaccine, if possible. The decision will surely bring a new hope to many. Statistics showed that there have been about 39.4 million people who had HIV at the end of 2004.