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Sexual Health, HIV All East Research Group (SHARE)

Theme 3: Understanding the basic science of HIV in persistence and co-morbidities

Two researchers working the lab using microscopesOverview

Even with effective treatment using antiretroviral therapy (ART), some people living with HIV still have problems with their immune system, known as chronic inflammation. This can cause other health conditions, such as cancer, liver, and heart disease, and may also make curing HIV more difficult.

In HIV-1, damage to the immune system results in a “leaky gut”, which is thought to drive chronic inflammation. This damage is less in a related but different type of HIV infection called HIV-2. There are more people with HIV 2 in East London than in other parts of the UK. This means that SHARE can undertake research to investigate differences in gut immunology and the causes of chronic inflammation in HIV-1 and HIV-2 and develop strategies to reduce it.

SHARE is also studying the heightened risk of cirrhosis, liver failure, liver cancer and other health conditions in people who have both HIV and Hepatitis B.

Professor Patrick Kennedy and Dr John Thornhill are leading this research theme.


SHARE will investigate immune dysfunction and viral markers in HIV and HIV-Hepatitis B co-infection and determine their roles in the persistence and progression of the disease. To achieve this, we are:

  • Conducting studies that investigate virological and immunological factors within racially minoritised populations in the East End of London.
  • Exploring the relationship between HIV and other health problems, such as chronic immune activation HIV-2 and Hepatitis B co-infection.
  • Establishing laboratory capacity and developing a tissue bank to study the neglected infection HIV-2.
  • Collaborating with Hepatology partners, such as the Blizard Institute.
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