Research for “post treatment control”

New studies demonstrate that when people are treated at the very early stages of an HIV infection (during the acute infection phase), the virus remains under control in some of them, even after they stop treatment. This is called ‘post-treatment control’.

What will be investigated?

The NOVA study by the H-TEAM investigates the effects of very early treatment on the characteristics of the immune system and the virus. These insights support the development of new treatment strategies which will ensure that HIV-infected people no longer need antiretroviral therapy (ART) over a long period of time and can suppress the virus by themselves without ART. For this research the H-TEAM collaborates with hospitals all over the Netherlands.

The aim of the research

The study aims to learn about the effects of starting ART as quickly as possible after being diagnosed (during the acute infection phase) on the viral load in cells in the blood, lymph nodes, intestines and the central nervous system (the HIV ‘reservoir’), and the general immune response to the virus. This might result in starting points for new treatment methods which could mean that people living with HIV no longer need to take HIV medication every day.


Why this research?

Currently available ART treatment can suppress the multiplication of the virus, resulting in a partial recovery of the immune system. When people start this treatment, they must adhere to it for the rest of their lives, because if they would stop the treatment, the virus would quickly come back.



Research methods

The study focuses on people living with HIV in the acute infection phase. This phase comprises the first weeks after the infection takes place. Identifying an acute HIV infection is of great importance as recent studies demonstrate that starting ART in this phase improves the prognosis of patients in the long run.



Study results:

The NOVA study started in August 2015 and at the moment (mid 2017) nearly 60 patients are participating in the research. To date (February 2017), some 250 people were tested, seventeen people were diagnosed with an acute HIV infection, and two with a chronic HIV infection.



  • Annelies Verbon
    Annelies Verbon


  • Casper Rokx
    Casper Rokx


  • Charles Boucher
    Charles Boucher


  • Jan Prins
    Jan Prins

    Amsterdam UMC

  • Godelieve de Bree
    Godelieve de Bree

    Project Leader
    Amsterdam UMC