Former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox jubilantly declared today that he does not have AIDS, the deadly disease he was exposed to through treatments at a cancer clinic in the Bahamas.
Maddox, 69, once a symbol of Southern segregation, made the announcement from the steps of his Marietta home.
"I have absolutely no problems," Maddox said, holding his arms above his head in a sign of victory. "My immune system is intact. Today I got the answer and there is no sign of the virus."
Maddox had said earlier, after learning that his anti-cancer serum tested positive for AIDS, "I'd rather go with straight cancer than AIDS. There's more dignity with cancer. There's no hope with AIDS."
The former governor had been a patient at the Immunology Researching Center for treatment of cancer of the prostate, which he said is in remission. The facility, closed in July by the Bahamian government, recommended macrobiotic diets and injections of a blood-derived substance that purportedly would build up the immune systems of cancer patients.
Maddox learned last month that some of the serum he and about 1,000 other patients received was contaminated with acquired immune deficiency syndrome antibodies. The antibodies do not necessarily indicate the presence of the live AIDS virus. Maddox stopped using the serum and sent a sample to Emory University for testing.