Center for Human Genetics and Laboratory Diagnostics, Dr. Klein, Dr. Rost and Colleagues

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Dr. med. Hartmut Campe, Dr. med. Hanns-Georg Klein

Scientific Background

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is transmitted by sexual contact and by contact with contaminated blood. Connatal and postnatal infection (via breast milk) is also possible. 

As a rule, acute HIV infection causes flu-like symptoms with swollen lymph nodes. Looking back, patients do not often remember this early infection phase. After many asymptomatic years, low immunity characteristics, opportunistic infections or typical tumors occur.

Over 20 medications from 5 substance classes are available for HIV therapy. They are usually administered in combinations of three. Information regarding therapy can be found in the relevant guidelines (see literature).

Diagnosis of an HIV infection takes place initially with an HIV detection test. If it is reactive, the infection must be confirmed with a second test system (Immunoblot/HIV RNA PCR). During therapy the quantitative detection of HIV RNA (viral load) is used to monitor the success of the therapy.