World AIDS Day 2016: Research in review

World AIDS Day is held on the 1 December each year as an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.

Since last year’s World AIDS Day we’ve published a number of news stories highlighting the developments made by our researchers working in the field of HIV infection.

From award winning smartphone apps, to the development of more efficient drug therapies and a better understanding of HIV transmission, we round up some of our HIV research updates from the past 12 months.

HIV drugs prevent transmission

An international study, led by Professor Anna Maria Geretti at our Institute of Infection and Global Health, found that antiretroviral therapy (ART) prevents HIV transmission during unprotected sex.

The study monitored nearly 900 gay and heterosexual couples— of which at least one had HIV and was on antiretroviral therapy— from 14 European countries.  All the couples had sex regularly without using a condom. They have now been monitored for several years and not one instance of transmission of the virus has been recorded.

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Award-winning HIV smartphone app

A smartphone application to help healthcare professionals safely prescribe medications for HIV patients won the Best HIV/AIDS App award at the 2016 Healthline Awards.

Developed and maintained by researchers at our Institute of Translational Medicine, the Liverpool HIV iChart provides a comprehensive drug interaction resource, which is freely available to healthcare workers, patients and researchers across the globe.

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New nanotechnologies

Research led by pharmacologist Professor Andrew Owen and materials chemist Professor Steve Rannard examined the use of nanotechnology to improve the delivery of drugs to HIV patients.

Research efforts by the team have focused on the development of new oral therapies, using Solid Drug Nanoparticle (SDN) technology which can improve drug absorption into the body, reducing both the dose and the cost per dose and enabling existing healthcare budgets to treat more patients.

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HIV and stroke

A study by Dr Laura Benjamin at our Institute of Infection and Global Health found that HIV infection is the leading risk factor for stroke in young African adults.

The incidence of stroke is on the increase across most of sub-Saharan Africa. In countries like Malawi, a substantial proportion of stroke patients are young adults, and have a low prevalence of established risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and smoking.

In collaboration with the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Laura examined the role of HIV, its treatment, and its interaction with high blood pressure as risk factors for stroke in Malawian adults.

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