It's a story that started with a photographer who met a Tulsa doctor in Africa.
That doctor claimed to have a cure for AIDS. In fact, the national media have covered parts of this story over the years.
But we've uncovered evidence and interviews that have never been seen before.
FOX23's Janna Clark has this exclusive report.
A professional photographer from Tulsa, Doug Henderson has traveled the world and seen so many stories. But he’s kept the story behind one of his photographs to himself until now.
It’s a picture of a vial and the story about what’s inside that vial.
When a friend asked him to travel to Africa to take some photographs, he didn’t think it was a big deal.
"We had no idea what we were stepping off into at this point," Doug said.
But when Doug got there - what he saw – that turned out to be a very big deal.
In 2004, Doug flew to Africa to the Ivory Coast where he met a man from Tulsa, a man who made an enormous claim.
"He said I have what I believe would be the cure for AIDS," Doug said.
That struck a chord with Doug. He’d watched his brother-in-law slowly slip away from the virus. He was only 44.
"That’s a miserable way to die," Doug said.
So when the Tulsa doctor said he had a cure for AIDS, Doug was willing to hear what he had to say.
"I just have a soft spot for people who have HIV," Doug said.
The doctor was Gary Davis, a family practitioner who’d graduated from Dartmouth Medical School and who’d been a captain in the U.S. Navy.
In 2007, Dr. Davis died with an impressive resume.
But when Doug first met the doctor, he thought, surely a man with these credentials wouldn’t joke about having a cure for AIDS.
But Doug says he was skeptical, to say the least.
"I’m less concerned by what people say. I’d like to see the evidence," Doug said.
Doug says Dr. Davis told him dozens of his patients and even close friends had died from AIDS. And then he told Doug a bizarre story about how came up with the idea for his so-called cure.
"The way he tells the story, that night he had a dream. He doesn’t call it a vision, he calls it a dream, and in this dream he was injecting a goat with the hiv virus. And he understood from this dream he would be able to develop antibodies, a serum from goat blood," Doug said.
A cure for AIDS – from a goat. Doug was even more skeptical.
But as Dr. Davis told how he developed the serum, Doug says it did sound logical.
"I’ll say the explanation made sense, it was logical, plausible," Doug said.
Dr. Davis told Doug he first tested his theory in a lab in at Tuskogee University in Alabama in 1996. He injected goats with AIDS and instead of getting sick, they developed antibodies against the virus.
Dr. Davis’s assistant, Linda Wilmes, says the idea isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
"It's no different from the serum that a horse can make if you've been bit by a snake," Linda said.
In 2002, Linda went to Africa to help Dr. Davis in the Ivory Coast, and when she sat down with me, it was the first time she had ever told her story.
Linda says she and Dr. Davis first met two men who both had AIDS.
"They were very very sick," Linda said.
As part of their first clinical trial, with the local government’s approval, Linda says Dr.
Davis injected both men with his goat serum.
"As soon as we started giving them the injections, everything changed for them. They got their energy back, their appetite came back," Linda said.
She says the patients went back to work, and she and Dr.
Davis were thrilled.
"Most things if it sounds too good to be true it probably is, but i witnessed this and it's real," Linda said.
Linda says the government then gave them the go-ahead for a larger clinical trial with 19 AIDS patients. And again, she says, she witnessed the same results.
"Literally after the first injection, they started feeling stronger in 20 to 30 minutes," she said. "Most of them were strong enough within 72 hours to return to their jobs."
She remembers one woman who was too sick to walk into the clinic.
"They brought her in, and literally she was on a stretcher, and within 30 minutes of the injection her strength came back she walked out of the clinic," Linda said.
Linda says the serum wasn’t just killing the virus - it was doing it quickly.
Doug was there when the lab results came back.
"And that was all glowing and considered to be the capping it off, the proof they needed," Doug said.
He says Dr. Davis and Linda were overjoyed.
"Linda wept, and he said I told you this is exactly what would happen, he wasn’t surprised in the least," Doug said. "The viral count dropped to the point it was undetectable."
"I was shocked was the best term I could use. I was shocked, in awe," Linda said.
At that point, Doug started visually documenting Dr. Davis’s research. They flew to the next-door country of Ghana, whose government paid for yet another clinical trial. Doug says two men and a husband and wife came into the clinic - four people all desperate -dealing with a virus they knew would kill them.
"They were obviously very very sick," Doug said. "They exhausted every other possibility, they knew they had a long slide to the end."
In video Doug shot, Dr. Davis introduced himself to the patients and told them what to expect.
"Until two years have passed, and you're off all medication, can we say this is a cure," Dr. Davis said.
Then Dr. Davis gave the patients two injections, one in each arm.
"It was a big needle and obviously very painful," Doug said. "They in very short order looked and felt much better. When they came back the next day they looked better they walked better they talked stronger, they were optimistic."
Doug documented injections and reaction over the next several days.
"Each day they got better, they were optimistic, they were excited, everybody was excited," Doug said. "We felt good about the whole thing, like our work was done."
Doug flew back home to Tulsa, and that’s when heard about a little girl on the other side of the country who he says may be the best evidence that Dr Davis’s serum could be a cure.
In part two of our story - a mother who says she stole Dr.
Davis’s medicine for her 6-year-old daughter with HIV.
"I took it," the mother said.
(Janna) "What do you mean?"
"I took the serum."
(Janna) "You stole it?"
"I stole it."
Don't miss part two of our special report.