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Hope or Hype?

Hope or Hype?

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A British man who claims he rid himself of HIV infection has raised both hopes and suspicious eyebrows among AIDS researchers. Andrew Stimpson, 25, received a positive HIV antibody test in 2002 and was shown to have very low levels of detectable HIV in his blood, but in 2003 he tested negative for HIV antibodies and was shown to be virus-free. The U.K. National Health Service confirmed the results of both tests, calling Stimpson's case 'exceptional and medically remarkable.' 'My doctor said, 'You've cured yourself. You're fantastic,' ' Stimpson told London's Mail on Sunday. 'I can't help wondering if I hold the cure for AIDS.' Some HIV researchers are wondering the same thing and have urged Stimpson to undergo more tests to determine precisely how'and if'he cleared himself of infection. 'Inside his immune system is perhaps a key that could allow us to develop some kind of vaccine,' AIDS researcher Patrick Dixon of the international organization ACET told The Independent, noting he's heard of similar'but unverified'cases in Africa. But other AIDS experts are much more skeptical or even outright dismissive of claims that Stimpson was cured. 'Utter rubbish,' researcher Andrew Grulich of Australia's National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research told The Australian. Some even suggest that Stimpson has always been HIV-negative, with his original diagnosis resulting from a false-positive test or lab errors. 'There needs to be a thorough, scientific investigation to find out exactly what has happened,' Genevieve Clark of the U.K. AIDS charity Terence Higgins Trust told The Independent.

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