Only few medical research areas have experienced as significant breakthroughs during the last centuries as HIV.
In less than 20 years a positive HIV test has developed from being a death sentence to being a chronic disease you can live with if you receive a proper treatment.
Today HIV patients can live a normal life, be sexually active and even have kids without transmitting the virus to others, as long as they attend regularly check-ups and take their daily medication.
Even though research and better medication has minimized both the morbidity and the risk of transmitting the disease, it still isn’t possible to cure HIV. Therefore a person with a HIV infection has to take medication daily for the rest of his life to prevent the disease from developing.
Around 6.000 Danish people are infected with HIV, and the treatment of each patient is costing the society around 100.000 kr. a year. The disease also has huge personally and psychological consequences, because some HIV patients live a life oppressed with quilt, taboo and stigmatization.
World wide more than 35 million people are infected with HIV, and around 1,6 million people died from AIDS in 2012. The numbers alone show, that the struggle against HIV is long from done. Researchers worldwide are trying to develop better treatment methods, and hopefully they will find a cure against AIDS in the end.
The International Center of HIV cure research lead the way in the research of HIV latency. In well-treated HIV patients the virus load in the blood is so small, that it cannot be detected. Still the patient is infected, because small loads of virus is ‘resting’ in the immune cells and can produce more virus, if the patient interrupts his treatment
Researchers from all over the world have been working on a theory, that an activation of the latent load of virus in the cells will be an important step forward in the development of a treatment method, which can eradicate HIV. In the summer of 2014 researchers from Department Q for the first time presented prove that it is possible medically to reactivate latent virus, so it can be detected in the blood. This discovery gives hope, that it will be possible to make the virus visible for the immune system, and that the body itself will be able to eradicate the infection. Never the less there are still many challenges that researchers must overcome, but the preliminary results from Department Q have already attracted international attention and recognition.
At The International Center of HIV Cure Research we do translational research, which means that the patients of the department contribute to the research – for example by delivering blood tests. The goal of the research is, that it should be possible to apply the results directly to the patients. The translational way of thinking gives a very dynamic research setting that will benefit the patients in short terms.
This setting and the close cooperation with specialists from other parts of Department Q is the reason why the center has achieved international recognition within the HIV research area.
You can read more about our HIV research projects here:
Prof., dr.med. Lars Østergaard
Tlf: 78 45 28 00
Fax: 78 45 28 04
M.Sc., ph.d Martin Tolstrup
Tlf: 78 45 28 43