Doctors baffled as HIV man ‘cures’ himself
A MAN who tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes Aids, has subsequently shown up negative for the disease in a case that has mystified doctors.
It was claimed last night that Andrew Stimpson, 25, may have shaken off the virus with his own immune system after contracting HIV in 2002.
If proved, the NHS has said the case would be “medically remarkable”. It could provide vital information to researchers looking into treatments for HIV and Aids, which has killed about 3,800 people in Britain since the 1980s.
The worldwide annual death toll is more than 3m.
The Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS trust, which treated Stimpson, has said he needs to undergo more tests before it can be established how he apparently conquered HIV.
“These tests were accurate and they were his, but what we don’t know at the moment is why that has happened, and we want him to come back in for more tests,” said a spokeswoman. “It is potentially a fantastic thing.”
Stimpson was tested three times in August 2002 at the Victoria clinic for sexual health in central London and the results showed he was producing HIV antibodies to fight the disease.
Stimpson, originally from Largs in Ayrshire, contracted the virus from his boyfriend, Juan Gomez, 44. He began taking vitamins and other dietary supplements to keep his body healthy in the hopes that this might fend off the development of full-blown Aids.
In October 2003, after impressing doctors with his good health, Stimpson was offered a new test, which came back negative. Further tests in December 2003 and March last year also proved negative.
“It was the last thing I expected. I was astonished. I was baffled too,” he told the News of the World. “I couldn’t understand how anyone could cure themselves of HIV . . . I thought it had to be wrong because no one can recover from HIV, it just doesn’t happen.”
The tests were re-checked by the Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust when Stimpson threatened litigation believing there must be a mistake, but the results confirmed all the tests had been accurate.
In a letter understood to be from the NHS Litigation Authority in October this year, Stimpson was told: “The fact you have recovered from a positive antibody result to a negative result is exceptional and medically remarkable.”
The trust said there had been several other cases of claimed “spontaneous clearance” of the virus worldwide, although it is not believed any have been proved. A spokeswoman added that the trust had urged Stimpson to return for tests, but that so far he had not done so.