Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus which infects vital cells within the immune system and leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The virus cripples the person’s immune system, making even the most common illnesses potentially life-threatening. HIV infection occurs through the transfer of body fluids, via sexual contact, blood transfusion, sharing of needles or through the placenta from mother to unborn child.
Globally, HIV/AIDS is now a pandemic and ranks as one of the largest killers of any infectious disease. More than 25 million people have now died from AIDS and there are 32.4 million infected with HIV (Source: WHO, 2008/2009).
There are currently around 18,000 Australians living with HIV, 230 of whom convert to AIDS every year. There are an estimated 1,000 new infections in Australia each year (Source: WHO, 2007).
Our research focuses on:
- identifying the key viral or cellular components that HIV requires to replicate and grow
- establishing how these components can be disabled and targeted by future treatments
- observing how the virus functions within a cell on a molecular level.