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HIV Study Laboratory

Heads of HIV Study Laboratory: Dr. Karolin Meixenberger and Dr. Kirsten Hanke


In the HIV study laboratory of FG18, comprehensive molecular-epidemiological data on HIV in Germany are obtained in order to better understand the spread dynamics and epidemiology as well as the intra-patient evolution and pathogenesis of this infection. More than 4.000 samples from people living with HIV are examined every year using the latest techniques for sequencing and bioinformatic analyses. The generated HIV sequence data is linked to epidemiological data in order to formulate, adapt and evaluate prevention strategies and to make recommendations for the diagnosis and therapy of HIV infection.

Molecular-epidemiological analyzes of HIV are currently being carried out as part of three studies and research projects based on them. More information about participating in these studies can be found on the following pages.

Studies in the HIV study laboratory

HIV Incidence Surveillance of HIV (InzSurv-HIV)

A variable length of time - often many years - can elapse between the HIV infection, which often goes unnoticed, and the time the diagnosis is made. However, the results of routine diagnostics do not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the duration of the infection. With the help of serological test methods, it is possible to differentiate between recently acquired (recent) and long-standing (prevalent, chronic) HIV infections. The InzSurv-HIV has been carried out since 2008. Based on the German Infection Protection Act (IfSG, §§ 7, 13), this study aims to determine the proportion of recent (approx. < 6 months) HIV infections among new HIV diagnoses in order to identify risk groups and regions with an acutely high incidence of infection or a high number of delayed HIV diagnoses. [more]

Integrated Genomic Surveillance of HIV (IGS-HIV, formerly MolSurv-HIV)

Monitoring primary HIV resistance and HIV diversity in Germany is one of the official tasks of the Robert Koch Institute. For this purpose, resistance-relevant HIV genome areas have been sequenced since 2013 from a large proportion of newly diagnosed HIV patients who are not reported by name to the RKI, and a genotypic HIV resistance determination has been carried out. In addition, the type and subtype and, if appropriate, the recombinant form are determined from the HIV sequences. In more extensive analyses, HIV transmission clusters are identified and the German HIV epidemic is characterized phylodynamically and phylogeographically. Like the InzSurv-HIV, the integrated genomic surveillance of HIV is based on §§ 7, 13 IfSG. An automated near-real-time surveillance is currently being set up, which will make it possible to quickly identify and display dynamics in the spread of HIV. [more]

HIV-1 Seroconverter Study

Since 1997, the HIV-1 Seroconverter Study, as part of the extended HIV surveillance, has provided important information on the course of infection in people whose time of HIV infection can be narrowly defined using laboratory diagnostic parameters. Since then, the results have contributed to improving the care of people living with HIV in Germany. In this study, the participants are observed over a longer period of time, which allows important insights into the course of the disease and possible influencing factors to be gained. Furthermore, the study offers the possibility to identify epidemiological and clinical factors that influence the molecular evolution of HIV. [more]

Research projects

Based on the sample material from the studies of the HIV study laboratory, there are a large number of research projects that deal with issues outside of official duties. [more]

Date: 22.01.2024