The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids  says it’s greatly encouraged by the news that an HIV-positive man has been functionally cured of HIV.

In a statement, UNAIDS said the London patient was treated by specialists for Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2016 using stem cell transplants from a donor who carried a rare genetic mutation.

According to the Joint Programme, stem cell transplants are highly complex, intensive and costly procedures with substantial side-effects and are not a viable way of treating large numbers of people living with HIV.

However, the results do offer a greater insight for researchers working on HIV cure strategies.

UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric says, “Our colleagues at UNAids said they are greatly encouraged by the news that an HIV-positive man has been functionally cured of HIV. The result, reported at the conference in Seattle, is one of only two cases of reported functional cures of HIV. The man was treated in London for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma using stem cell transplants from a donor carrying a rare genetic mutation. The virus has been undetectable since he stopped taking antiretroviral medicine 18-months ago”

He adds: “Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, said the breakthrough gives us great hope for the future, but also shows how far we are from the point of ending AIDS with science, as well as the absolute importance to continue to focus on HIV prevention and treatment efforts.”