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"Genetic" AIDS Cure Finally Discovered?

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    a !

    Mr Stimpson, a Scot living in London, was found to be HIV-positive in August 2002, but 14 months later a blood test suggested that he no longer carried the virus. A further three tests confirmed the finding.

    Doctors believe that this first confirmed case of “spontaneous clearance” of HIV could offer important insights into the behaviour of the virus, and possible means of defeating it.

    To date there has been anecdotal evidence of such a clearance of HIV

    “It was so shocking, because you just never expect that,” he told the News of the World. “There are 34.9 million people with HIV around the globe and I’m just one person who managed to control it, to survive it, to get rid of it from my body.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1871540,00.html
    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article326894.ece


     

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    a ! wrote:

    Mr Stimpson, a Scot living in London, was found to be HIV-positive in August 2002, but 14 months later a blood test suggested that he no longer carried the virus. A further three tests confirmed the finding.

    Doctors believe that this first confirmed case of “spontaneous clearance” of HIV could offer important insights into the behaviour of the virus, and possible means of defeating it.

    To date there has been anecdotal evidence of such a clearance of HIV

    “It was so shocking, because you just never expect that,” he told the News of the World. “There are 34.9 million people with HIV around the globe and I’m just one person who managed to control it, to survive it, to get rid of it from my body.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1871540,00.html
    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/article326894.ece


     


    OMG get this man into a lab for research!

  • User profile image
    Manip

    8-) so suddenly a freak of luck becomes a 'cure' ... I doubt very much this individual's body will give us anything of use... Plus he doesn't too keen to help out and we can't force him.

  • User profile image
    TommyCarlier

    Actually, in an interview he said he really wanted to help in the research to finding a cure for HIV.

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    False positives in HIV tests happen occasionally, but they always retest, far as I know, to catch that.

  • User profile image
    GeoffC

    a ! wrote:

    Mr Stimpson, a Scot living in London, was found to be HIV-positive in August 2002, but 14 months later a blood test suggested that he no longer carried the virus. A further three tests confirmed the finding.



    Actually, that's not right. The three negative tests were *before* two tests giving a positive result (August 2002). Then 14 months later there was a single test with a negative result. Mr. Stimpson has been asked to retake the test. So far, he has refused to do so.

    Perhaps I'm needlessly cynical, but I also note that apparently while refusing to take further tests he has nevertheless signed contracts for his story with both the News of the World and the Mail on Sunday - neither of which can be considered to be beacons of responsible journalism, in my view. He has also tried to sue the clinic that gave him a positive result.

  • User profile image
    Manip

    TommyCarlier wrote:
    Actually, in an interview he said he really wanted to help in the research to finding a cure for HIV.


    He also said he wanted to sue the hospital and sounded like a chav, yeah, real nice guy.... Expressionless

  • User profile image
    irascian

    Something about this story doesn't add up. The facts appear to be as follows:

    1. The patient had a positive HIV test some time ago (nobody disputes this)

    2. Patient goes to "News of the World" to sell his story of a negative result. Mass worldwide media interest ensues and he's then quoted as saying he will do anything he can to help

    3. Hospital spokesman confirms that first test was positive and that a second test was negative but that the patient has continually refused their requests to resubmit for a second test.

    Forgive my cynicism but it is very easy for someone to have a test masquerading as someone else. The procedure in hospitals is usually that a doctor sees the patient and fills out forms for the various blood tests. These are then taken separately (often to a different physical part of the building) to a group of nurses who will perform the test on whoever gives them the paperwork. It is perfectly possible for an HIV+ person to collect the forms and then have someone else go and give the blood and have results collected. It's also perfectly possible for blood samples to get incorrectly labelled if several people are giving blood at the same time.

    I hope I'm being too cynical but to me this story smacks of someone wanting to make money from a tabloid and appallingly bad journalism that's becoming the norm these days (yesterday's BBC reports made no mention of the hospital's position that they have continually asked the patient to come back for more tests after the "negative" one and that he has consistently refused, despite his insisting on all of yesterday's TV/radio interviews that he wanted to help)

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    irascian wrote:
    I hope I'm being too cynical but to me this story smacks of someone wanting to make money from a tabloid


    He must be very desparate, the fees paid by NotW, according to their website,  would be no higher than "many thousands of pounds".

    Since his story was more of a Page 4 article, I doubt it was more than £2,000

    Of course, being my judgemental self, *dons flame-proof suit* he /does/ look like a chav, so forgive me if I suspect there's some alterior motive.

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    I'm not going to be drawn in to jundging him on his photograph.. however, there are a number of possibilities including:

    The Original test gave a false positive.
    The new test gave a false negative.
    Fraud / deception.

    All of which are, in the grand scheme of things, much more likely than a genetic cure for HIV.

    A healthy dose of skepticism and enquiry is called for.

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    Manip

    If it is deception then the guy deserves to burn in some place hot and fiery that only religious people believe in.... I mean why give HIV sufferers hope only to take it away?

    Oh and by the way, AIDs and HIV aren't the same thing, so the title is incorrect, in that it should say HIV cure not AIDs.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    Let's not take any chances:  We should grind him up and centrifuge out his antibodies...

  • User profile image
    irascian

    Tensor wrote:

    I'm not going to be drawn in to jundging him on his photograph.. however, there are a number of possibilities including:

    The Original test gave a false positive.



    Unless things have changed whenever they got a positive they would run a second test (admittedly from the same batch of blood) to make sure they weren't giving out a false result, to avoid litigation.

    In this case the story for the News of the World, as I understand it, was that he was going to sue the hospital for an incorrect diagnosis. When he was assured the test was NOT faulty and he had no claim he went to The News of the World.

    The statement from the hospital spokesman in this morning's "Metro" is what makes me suspicious. It's very guarded whilst being quite critical at the same time. There are some very strange people out there who will do anything to get in the papers or on TV and I just hope this isn't another example of one.

  • User profile image
    irascian

    Manip wrote:

    Oh and by the way, AIDs and HIV aren't the same thing, so the title is incorrect, in that it should say HIV cure not AIDs.


    I've never understood this separation (and neither did my partner who died of AIDS just over nine years ago). It seems to me to be just  a "political correctness" conjuring trick, arising from the stigma associated with "AIDS" after all the doom and gloom "death" ads of the 80's. It's for some bizarre reason more socially acceptable to say "I am HIV+" than "I have AIDS" and so people try and emphasise HIV+ rather than AIDS, which is silly. It's a disease and whatever you call it it's nasty!

    Some generalisations (and this information is based on what I knew about 10 years ago, there may be better statistics available now):

    The "average" person has a T-cell count of around 600 (this can vary wildly - some HIV- people can have a count of a couple of thousand, while others have figures as low as 400). The T-cell count is a very crude measurement of the health of a person's immune system. Once someone has HIV this count typically decreases year on year, on average by between 50 and 150 t-cells a year. When the T-cell count gets to 200 is when symptoms of AIDS-associated illnesses tend to start to kick in. Pneumonia (PCP) is usually the first to kick in at around this level and as the count reduces other nastier diseases show their hand.

    It is usually when the first illness sets in that a person is described as having AIDS rather than being HIV+, but really it's just an indication that the continual weakening of the immune system over time has suddenly made the person unable to fight off an infection - there is no real differenc between "AIDS" and "HIV+" as such.

    It's important to remember that a T-Cell count is a VERY crude measure of the immune system. Just climbing the stairs or having a cold or missing sleep for a couple of nights can dramatically reduce it temporarily, and there are some HIV+ people who've got down to single digit counts and seemed healthy where others have caught something at the 200 mark and died as a result of lack of timely treatment.

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    HIV is a disease (a rinovirus).  AIDS is a syndrome (i.e. it's the end result of the disease).

    It's like the difference between influenza (the virus) causing you to be sick (the syndrome).  Nobody dies of influenza, they die from the symptoms (lung failure, fever, stroke, etc.).

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    My point being though, that if the test is accurate 99% of the time - and its unlikely to be anything near that good - then a second test is not a guarantee, it just means that only 1 in 10,000 get a false positive when they are really negative.

    Compare that to the chance of someone just getting better, and I know which I would consider more likely.

  • User profile image
    irascian

    ScanIAm wrote:
    HIV is a disease (a rinovirus).  AIDS is a syndrome (i.e. it's the end result of the disease).

    It's like the difference between influenza (the virus) causing you to be sick (the syndrome).  Nobody dies of influenza, they die from the symptoms (lung failure, fever, stroke, etc.).



    But if I were to use your anology I would have to say that nobody dies of AIDS - they die of pneumonia or lung failure or fever or TB or....

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    irascian wrote:
    ScanIAm wrote: HIV is a disease (a rinovirus).  AIDS is a syndrome (i.e. it's the end result of the disease).

    It's like the difference between influenza (the virus) causing you to be sick (the syndrome).  Nobody dies of influenza, they die from the symptoms (lung failure, fever, stroke, etc.).



    But if I were to use your anology I would have to say that nobody dies of AIDS - they die of pneumonia or lung failure or fever or TB or....


    And you would be correct.  AIDS is a catch-all that says your immune system is not working any more.

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