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can anyone tell me what does it mean in this sentence?

Although the president, Thabo Mbeki, still finds it hard for some reason to say that HIV alone causes AIDS, the sting has been drawn from attacks on his leadership by activists and others.
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Like a wasp or bumblebee whose stinger has been removed. His attacks have lost their venom; they are no longer as painful/harmful.

Edit: Or, if we're talking about attacks that have already happened, it could mean the sting (pain) has been drawn out of the wound, as with a healing poultice.
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Got it, thank you