Josep Mallolas and José Alcamí
Support to the Unidad de VIH-Sida del Hospital Clínic
Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain
HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed almost 33 million lives to date. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people with the disease to lead long and healthy lives.
There are an estimated 38 million people living with HIV worldwide. Around 68% of adults and 53% of children who have HIV globally are receiving lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The HIV-AIDS Unit of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona represents the largest cohort of patients with HIV infection in follow-up in European hospitals. It operates a laboratory that addresses aspects of both basic and translational research, as well as clinical trials. The unit makes some 19,500 assessments a year of over 6,000 people infected with HIV, of whom more than 200 have never received antiretroviral treatment.
Grants from the ”la Caixa” Foundation are dedicated to supporting the unit’s various lines of research. For many years, these have focused on studying the comorbidities of HIV infection to enable investigation into the relationship between cancer and the metabolic and senescence processes caused by the disease. In terms of new treatments, the unit is examining simplification strategies and treatment with immunomodulators to reduce viral reservoirs. It is also initiating new studies of immunopathogenesis, viral reservoirs and functional cure, as well as the development of new preventive vaccines.