Wright group

HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis - HIV preventive treatment options

Does treating HIV+ patients for hypertension also improve CD4+ T cell counts and immune function?


A/Prof Edwina Wright’s main research focus includes neurological disorders and opportunistic infections of the central nervous system (CNS) in HIV infected individuals.

This includes:

  • Determining the impact of different antiretroviral treatment strategies upon HIV-associated neurocognitive performance

  • Determining the prevalence of HIV-related neurological disorders, nationally and internationally

  • To assess, diagnose and treat HIV related neurological complications.

A/Prof Wright also runs research programs that look at the benefit of pre-exposure prophylaxis in populations at high-risk of contracting HIV, as well as looking into the potential positive side-effects of anti-hypertensive treatments in HIV+ positive patients.

For more information on current research programs please see below or visit A/Prof Wright's Burnet Institute web page.

Research Areas:

HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis - HIV preventatitve treatment options

New HIV prevention strategies are necessary in Australia because HIV infection rates continue to rise. The Victorian HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Demonstration Project, or PrEP, aims to demonstrate that PrEP can be implemented feasibly, safely and effectively in the Victorian context through an accessible program targeted at the populations at highest risk of HIV acquisition.

This is an exciting project that will involve clinical, social and epidemiological research in the area of HIV prevention.

For more information please visist the PrEP web page.

Does treating HIV+ patients for hypertension also improve CD4+ T cell counts and immune function?

Hypertension is associated with increased risk for cardiac and cerebrovascular disease and occurs in up to 20% of HIV+ patients.

The Australian National Heart Foundation Guidelines recommends that hypertension should be treated with ACE inhibitors, Angiotensin II Receptor Antagonists, calcium channel blockers, or low dose thiazide diuretics.

During HIV infection, lymph node fibrosis destroys the architecture of lymph nodes and hence reduces the capacity for antigen presentation and development and proliferation of naive CD4 cells.

A recent feasibility study of the use of lisinopril (an ACE inhibitor) in virologically suppressed HIV+ patients showed that the lisinopril was well tolerated and was associated with a small but significant fall in diastolic blood pressure and a reduction in inflammatory cytokines.

Our study will review treated, virologically suppressed HIV+ patients who have commenced anti-hypertensive treatment in the past 5 years to determine whether treatment with ACE inhibitors or other anti-hypertensive agents is associated with a significant increase in CD4+ cells counts and other measures of immune function.