In a milestone scientific breakthrough, for the first time a woman, and a person of colour at that, has been possibly cured of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after receiving an umbilical cord blood transplant. Before this, only two other people have been reportedly cured of HIV, and both were men. The researchers at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York, who spearheaded the project, shared their case study during the conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, Colorado. The woman (who chose to remain anonymous to maintain privacy) was one of the first to receive a new stem cell transplant treatment using umbilical cord blood, with a mutation that blocks HIV from entering her cells. Along with that, she received partially matched blood stem cells from a family member, such as a parent, offspring or sibling. As of today, that is 14 months after the transplant, her blood is clear of the virus. In fact, the treatment also led to remission from leukaemia in her case. According to scientists, the umbilical cord blood has stem cells that are more adaptable than those of adult blood. While the stem cell transplant method has brought a cure to an HIV positive woman of colour, unfortunately, currently it is still risky and involves revamping the hosts immune system with that of the donors. Dr Deborah Persaud, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who chairs the US National Institutes of Health-funded scientific committee behind the new case study, told NBC News that the stem cell treatment method is still not a feasible strategy for all but a handful of the millions of people living with HIV. According to 2020 global statistics by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), there were around 38 million HIV positive people living in the world in 2020. More than half of the population suffering from HIV/AIDS are women and yet, womens representation in clinical trials has been rather underwhelming.The first and second patientsTimothy Ray Brown and Adam Castillejowhose HIV was cured after a bone marrow treatment went through major side effects. Brown nearly died when the donor marrow cells attacked his body, and Castillejo suffered hearing loss and multiple infections. The woman who got cured was discharged 17 days after the operation and has not developed a severe infection ever since then, reported physicians at Weill Cornell.