There are more than 36 million people living with HIV around the world. In countries like Australia, most people living with HIV are on treatment to supress the virus. Globally however, particularly in low and middle income countries, less than half of people living with HIV receive treatment for the virus.
People living with HIV experience unique health issues, including increased risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. While a lot of progress has been made, and HIV has become a chronic manageable disease in settings where treatment is available, stigma and discrimination remain barriers to life-saving health care services.
In the lab, we are dedicated to finding more effective treatments for HIV. Some of our studies are aimed at better understanding why the virus is latent and how it ‘wakes up’ in a person living with HIV. These studies are uncovering vital information towards reducing, and eventually eliminating, the need for antiretroviral therapy. Other studies are looking at reengineering infected T cells so that we can stop the virus from replicating in the body.
We have a number of clinical trials aimed at optimising treatment strategies for people living with HIV. In 2015, our ENCORE trial found that a reduced daily dose of the antiretroviral medication, efavirenz was both safe and effective in suppressing HIV and had fewer side effects. This finding influenced World Health Organisation HIV treatment guidelines and opened up access to treatment for millions of people living with HIV around the world. Also in 2015, our START trial found conclusive evidence that immediate treatment of HIV is clinically superior compared with deferred treatment. We are investigating methods of preventing HIV-related anal cancer, including through screening and early treatment.
In conducting our research, we partner with community organisations that represent people living with HIV. Through these partnerships we have discovered powerful information to inform better advocacy, support and service delivery for people living with HIV.
Our programs that work in this area
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
- Biostatistics and Databases
- HIV Epidemiology and Prevention
- Immunovirology and Pathogenesis
- Infection Analytics
- Public Health Interventions
- Sexual Health
- Surveillance and Evaluation
- Therapeutic and Vaccine Research