European Man Becomes 6th Person to Be ‘Cured’ of HIV

In a groundbreaking medical development, a European man diagnosed with HIV in 1990 has achieved remission.  That made him potentially the sixth person to be ‘cured’ of HIV. This extraordinary feat comes as a result of a pioneering stem cell transplant procedure. The story of the “Geneva patient” brings hope to millions living with HIV worldwide. It sheds light on the potential for innovative approaches in HIV treatment and research.

HIV red ribbon

The Journey of the Geneva Patient

The Geneva patient had been under antiretroviral treatment since 2005 to manage his HIV. However, in 2018, he faced a new health challenge when he was diagnosed with an uncommon extramedullary myeloid tumor, a type of blood cancer. Undeterred, he bravely opted for a groundbreaking stem cell transplant. It marked a crucial turning point in his medical journey.

A Major Breakthrough

The Geneva patient’s case stands out from previous instances of HIV remission achieved through stem cell transplants. Unlike the others, his stem cell donor did not possess the rare genetic abnormality that naturally resists HIV. Nevertheless, the patient’s remission and successful discontinuation of antiretroviral drugs in November 2021 have excited experts and researchers in the field.

Scientific Significance

The remarkable case has captured the scientific community’s attention. Dr. Sharon Lewin, president of the International AIDS Society (IAS), praised it as “great news” and a potential game-changer in advancing HIV cure research. Despite this optimism, the possibility of a viral rebound remains a concern, prompting close monitoring and highly sensitive tests to detect any trace amounts of defective virus.

Success Rooted in Innovation

The Geneva patient’s remission success can be attributed to a unique combination of radiation, chemotherapy, and stem cell transplant. Spearheaded by Asier Sáez-Cirión, head of the viral reservoirs and immune control unit at the Institute Pasteur in Paris, the research team overseeing the case has opened new avenues for potential future HIV treatments.

Hope for the Future

While a widespread HIV cure may still be on the horizon, the Geneva patient’s case challenges previous assumptions about the possibilities of HIV treatment. Dr. Steven Deeks, a leading HIV researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, highlights the significance of chemotherapy in eliminating the viral reservoir, indicating a potential pathway to successful remission.

IAS Conference on HIV Science

Anticipation is high for the upcoming IAS Conference on HIV Science in Brisbane, Australia, from July 23 to 26. This event promises to shed more light on the groundbreaking research surrounding the Geneva patient’s case and other vital topics in HIV research. The conference will explore studies on post-treatment control of HIV in infants. As well as the correlation between circumcision and HIV risk in gay men, and the relationship between HIV and pox.


The remarkable journey of the Geneva patient instills hope and optimism for those living with HIV worldwide. While a definitive cure remains elusive, this case underscores the significance of sustained research and collaborative efforts within the scientific community. As the world eagerly awaits the outcomes of future studies and clinical trials, the momentum toward finding a cure for HIV has never been more promising. The groundbreaking strides made in this case may serve as a catalyst for a brighter and healthier future for individuals living with HIV. As we continue to celebrate this extraordinary medical achievement, we must remain committed to the fight against HIV.  We work together towards a world free from the burden of this global health challenge.


  • Dr. Phillip O.Coffin

    Phillip O. Coffin, M.D., M.I.A., F.A.C.P., is the Director of Substance Use Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. He is board-certified in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and addiction medicine; specific foci of Dr. Coffin’s training include general infectious diseases, HIV and viral hepatitis, buprenorphine maintenance, addiction management, and drug poisoning.