Although isolated cytopenias are relatively common in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the incidence of aplastic anaemia is extremely rare. We report here the first case of a HIV-infected patient who developed severe idiopathic aplastic anaemia, and who was safely and effectively treated with anti-thymocyte globulin and cyclosporin. We briefly review immune-mediated cytopenias in HIV, including their frequency, pathophysiology and management strategies. ? 2013 Royal Australasian College of Physicians.