HIV research studies

The HIV research team conduct a variety of drug trials and observational studies. These studies aim to improve our understanding of HIV and discover better treatments. 

It is up to you whether you want to take part in research and it will not affect your care in any way. A doctor or a research nurse will be very happy to give you more information and discuss your suitability for a trial.

As many people are only seen every six months you may miss out on the chance to take part in some studies. If you want us to let you know about the latest studies, please contact us directly on 020 7188 2608/9 or email hw.research@gstt.nhs.uk.

Current research

We are currently looking for volunteers to take part in the following studies.

Click on the headings below to find out more about each study and see if you might eligible to take part and help us with our research.

  • MAVMET

    This study is looking at treatments to try and reduce the amount of fat in your liver. It is for patients who have had HIV for five years or more.

    The treatments being tested are Maraviroc, a licensed ART medication, and metformin, a licensed medicine to treat diabetes. This study will compare four groups: the Maraviroc group (two tablets/day), the metformin group (two tablets/day), the Maraviroc and metformin group (four tablets/day), and the control group (no extra tablets).

    Both medicines in this study are licensed for treatment of HIV (Maraviroc) or diabetes (metformin) and have been used for many years for these conditions. Both medicines have a very good safety record and few side effects.

    Everyone on the study will continue their current ART. Everyone on the study will have an MRI scan at the beginning and end of the study. There are seven clinic visits and two MRI scans for the study, over 48 weeks.

    Eligible patients will be approached in clinic to take part.

  • BIOBANK

    We give people who are infected with HIV the option of contributing a blood sample to a biobank before starting ART. Biobanks are storage facilities for biological samples, for use in research. Patients who consent to their blood samples may then be offered the chance of joining clinical trials in the future.

    You will be asked by your clinician about whether you want to join this study.

  • HEATHER

    There is increasing evidence that starting ART early in infection rather than waiting for the CD4 count to fall is beneficial. This study has been set up to find out whether people who are treated very early after acquiring the infection have much lower reservoirs. By studying this we might in the future be able to find new approaches to curing HIV infection. Your treatment and care are decided on between you and your clinician and are in no way affected by this study.

    If you have been diagnosed at seroconversion, you will be approached about taking part in this observational study.

  • PITCH

    Drugs for HIV infection are effective at keeping the virus at bay, but are not a cure. If patients start treatment within a few months of being infected, a significant proportion (up to 14%) enter a state of remission in which HIV stays undetectable and patients remain well if they stop treatment. This condition is called ‘post treatment control’ (or ‘PTC’). We do not understand how much treatment is necessary, when it should be started and if there are laboratory markers that can help predict reaching this state.

    In this pilot, we aim to stop treatment in HIV positive volunteers who started being treated very early, to discover how many will reach PTC and what might be causing it. We will monitor these volunteers closely for evidence of returning virus and see how their immune system is responding and, crucially, how much of an impact this is having on the HIV ‘reservoir’ (sleeping viruses that remain dormant while people are on treatment). The idea is, because we are starting treatment very early, HIV will not have had as much chance to have a large reservoir and so we have a good chance of reducing it. If HIV returns, volunteers will be restarted on treatment, thereby avoiding any harm. We aim to identify patients who can stop treatment for years, and some who may never need to be treated again. This may help develop new treatments for HIV.

    A selected group of patients on the HEATHER study will take part in an intensively monitored treatment interruption study. Patients have to have been on treatment for at least two years to take part.

    If you have previously donated a sample to the HEATHER biobank, you will be approached about taking part in this study.

  • GEN-AFRICA

    Black people with HIV infection are at increased risk of kidney disease and the reasons for this are not well understood. We would like to examine the risk factors for this, especially the contribution of a person’s genetic makeup. Participants will provide blood and urine samples, to examine the relationship between genetics and kidney problems. We will be approaching potential participants in clinic. To take part, patients must have  HIV infection and have been born (or have parents who were born) in sub-Saharan Africa or the Caribbean. 

  • HOMEPEP

    We are running a research study on PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) for men who have sex with men. PEP is a medication used to prevent HIV infection after potential exposure. We want to know if having a supply of PEP at home would allow people to take it more quickly and appropriately.

    All participants will receive a five-day starter pack of PEP to keep at home in case it is needed (at their first or fifth visit as per randomisation). They will then be seen in clinic to receive the rest of the PEP. Participating in the study involves seeing the research team every three months and is a convenient way to get the recommended 3-monthly sexual heath check-up, by appointment. Additionally, we offer £20 reimbursement per study visit.

    HIV negative men will be informed about this study when they attend sexual health clinics for PEP or general sexual health advice.

Changing or cancelling your appointment

To cancel or change an appointment, please telephone the research office on 020 7188 2608/9 or email hw.research@gstt.nhs.uk.

If you need to cancel your appointment, please tell us as soon as possible, preferably at least 48 hours in advance.

Patient services

Useful links

King's College Hospital HIV Research Centre

Take part in a clinical trial

Find out how you can take part in a clinical trial at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and what is involved.