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The disease

The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the causative agent of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a human disease characterised by low levels of CD4 lymphocytes associated with development opportunistic infections and some cancers.

There are different genetic variants of HIV. At the first level of classification, there are HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections, with HIV-1 being the most common worldwide. In turn, there are various subtypes and recombinant forms of HIV-1, with subtype B predominating in economically developed countries and the various non-B subtypes and recombinant circulating forms (CRFs) causing most cases of infection in developing countries development.

HIV infection is transmitted sexually (homosexual and heterosexual), parenterally (blood, blood products, injecting drug users) and through mother-to-child transmission (during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding), with sexual transmission being the most common route worldwide.

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By 2020, an estimated 37.7 million people were infected with HIV worldwide (67% in sub-Saharan Africa), although many people are unaware of their HIV status as infection can be asymptomatic for the first few years. That year there were nearly 700,000 AIDS deaths and 1.5 million new cases, of which 150,000 were children. Half of these children, without early diagnosis and treatment, will die before their second birthday.


Prevention and treatment

Prevention of HIV infection depends largely on behaviour change and primarily on the avoidance of risky sexual behaviours, which in addition to preventing other sexually transmitted infections and diseases (STIs/STDs).

Once a person is infected with HIV, antiretroviral treatment is available to reduce the presence of the virus in the body, reduce progression to AIDS and reduce transmission. In order to achieve control of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS has set the target of goal 95-95-95 by 2030, i.e. 95% of infected people should be diagnosed, 95% should receive correct antiretroviral treatment and, of this treated population, 95% should achieve undetectable levels of the virus in their blood, which would make them incapable of transmitting the infection. Currently, a high percentage of the population has access to antiretroviral drugs, but there are major gaps in the diagnosis of infection and monitoring of treatment in developing countries development.


Lines of research

Short line name: HIV/AIDS

Epidemiology and characterisation of HIV/AIDS infection in developing countries development

In this line, work is being carried out on a cohort of patients in Kinshasa (DRC) to deepen the knowledge of HIV/AIDS infection in this population and to improve strategies for prevention and treatment of the infection.

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To this end, group has the following objectives:

  • To identify at Monkole Hospital Centre (Kinshasa, DRC) the factors associated with change in sexual behaviours following the result HIV test conducted at committee and Voluntary HIV Diagnosis (VDD).
  • To assess the impact of committee and Voluntary HIV Diagnosis on HIV knowledge, attitudes and sexual risk behaviours months after receiving an HIV+ or HIV- test.
  • Characterise the infecting HIV-1 subtypes and the prevalence of antiretroviral resistance mutations.
  • To assess the use of dried blood as an alternative to plasma for HIV-1 quantification and characterisation at a foreign reference laboratory .


Team researcher Viral diseases. HIV/Aids


Gabriel Reina González (PhD)

researcher Main

laboratory of Microbiology

+34 948 255400 Extension: 805103

Silvia Carlos Chillerón (PhD)

Principal Investigator

Preventive Medicine and Public Health

+34 948 425 600 Extension: 806636

Patricia Sanz Sanz


laboratory of Microbiology

+34 948 296500 Extension: 825114

Paula Martínez de Aguirre

PhD student/spanish pharmacy residency program Microbiology


+34 948 255400 Extension: 825112

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The most important publications of the last few years can be viewed via PubMed(click here).