President of the International AIDS Society (IAS), Sharon Lewin, has noted recent cure cases provide continued hope for people living with HIV and inspiration for the scientific community.

Lewin said this following the presentation of two recent cure cases at a press conference tagged “Scientific Highlights” on Wednesday.

The press conference highlighted six studies selected from thousands of abstracts being presented at the 24th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2022) over the next week in Montréal and virtually.

Data presented by Jana Dickter of City of Hope shows a stem-cell transplant recipient (unnamed) has become the fourth known adult case of HIV cure.

A researcher at the Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS/University of Barcelona, Núria Climent, presented an analysis of a 59-year-old woman with sexually acquired HIV enrolled in the “Immune-mediated PHI trial” who has maintained an undetectable viral load for more than 15 years without ART.

Lewin, who doubles as Director of The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, said: “A cure remains the Holy Grail of HIV research.

“We have seen a handful of individual cure cases before, and the two presented today provide continued hope for people living with HIV and inspiration for the scientific community.

“What’s more, we are now seeing an advance in the great challenge of finding a biomarker for the HIV reservoir – a truly exciting development.”

Co-principal investigator Annie Luetkemeyer, Professor of Medicine, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital at University of California, San Francisco, noted that doxycycline taken after sex is a promising prevention strategy for populations disproportionately impacted by high rates of STIs.

Presenter Madisa Mine of the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness explained Botswana has become one of the very few countries to surpass the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 95-95-95 targets.

The survey found that 95.1% of people living with HIV in Botswana were aware of their status, nearly all (98%) of those aware of their status were on antiretroviral therapy, and 97.9% of those on ART achieved viral suppression.

Mine noted that the country is well-positioned to end its HIV epidemic by 2030 despite the fact that approximately one in five adults in Botswana are living with HIV.

“The results from this large-scale survey of Botswana’s progress are truly breath-taking,” Lewin said.

“This important milestone demonstrates exactly what evidence-based policies can deliver.”