1 min

AIDS cure hype

A 25-year-old Scotsman who twice tested positive for HIV in 2002, twice tested negative a year later, reported the BBC Nov 13.

“For me it’s unbelievable,” Andrew Stimpson, who says he purged the virus from his body with vitamins, told the BBC. “It’s a miracle. I think I’m one of the luckiest people alive.”

The story has prompted wild and sensationalistic speculation in the international media on the eve of World AIDS Day that something about Stimpson may hold the secret to eradicating HIV from the bodies of millions of people living with the virus.

But doctors in the UK say Stimpson has so far declined to undergo further medical tests and that there are a number of more likely explanations for his results beyond a miracle or the sudden emergence of the Holy Grail of epidemiology.

“It’s pretty amazing and far-fetched,” says BC Persons with AIDS Society Chair Paul Lewand. “Hopefully he goes and gets the rest of the tests done so if there is something to this whole thing, people can investigate it. Anyone who won’t go for the follow-up tests, the first thing you think is, ‘Why aren’t you anxious to get the next tests done?'”

No one in the history of recorded science has ever been proved to seroconvert backwards, spontaneously or otherwise, from HIV-positive to HIV-negative.

“We’re talking about very rare, strange circumstances anyway,” says Lewand. “The first test could have been bad, the second test could have been bad, there are lots of ifs.”

Xtra West was not able to connect before press time with any BC physicians willing to publicly comment on this case.