The research of ITM on the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS is of inestimable value.

We laid the foundation for AIDS and HIV research.

The first building blocks of the research on AIDS and the HIV virus were laid in Antwerp. Researchers of the institute discovered that slim disease (a common form of AIDS in Africa) was the same as the virus affecting MSM* in the West. Thanks to the efforts of ITM, this disease got recognised as an African heterosexual disease that mostly affects poor people. In addition, they discovered similar viruses in monkeys - the so-called simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) - and gained insights into the origin of HIV in chimpanzees.

For decades, ITM has been a medical services provider and a taboo breaking champion for people infected by HIV. We have a strong commitment to HIV and AIDS research in the areas of virology, epidemiology, prevention, education, diagnosis, therapy and social issues.

*Men who have sex with men



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Our services

For more than 40 years, ITM has been providing comprehensive medical and psychosocial care to people living with HIV.

Find out what we do

All three departments of ITM do their bit.

Public Health

We measure and improve the quality of life of people living with HIV, focusing on prevention (e.g. PrEP), HIV stigma and vulnerable groups.

Clinical Sciences

We provide medical services and individual psychological counselling, hold discussion groups for people living with HIV, organise an annual World Aids Day campaign, study innovative diagnostic techniques for HIV and STIs, and conduct prevalence studies of STIs and antimicrobial resistance (AMR), in collaboration with partner institutions.

Biomedical Sciences

We study biomedical prevention methods (microbicides), the development of treatment resistance, and useful molecules and strategies for treatment, prevention and cure.


Interesting projects

  • Be-PrEP-Ared: our study about the efficacy of PrEP as a potential prevention strategy in Belgium

  • Swab2Know: our project on the use of free and anonymous tests for HIV prevention

  • HIVSAM - Africans Against HIV: our project on the implementation of HIV prevention and the promotion of sexual health with Sub-Saharan African migrants (SAM) in Flanders.

Research themes

  • antimicrobial-resistance-amr
    Bacteria have found various ways to develop resistance (AMR), of which resistance to antibiotics is a problem reaching across many different domains.
  • tsetse-fly
    Tireless effort is crucial to eliminate human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, in the world. For more than a century, ITM has been playing its part.
  • mosquito-on-human-skin-arboviruses
    Arboviruses such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika are urgent public health threats in tropical and subtropical areas.
  • malaria-mosquito-net
    By combining efforts on biological, human and societal aspects of the disease, ITM hopes to control and ultimately eliminate malaria in the long term.
  • paulin-madingi-analyses-sample-of-sleeping-sickness-ntd-itm
    Neglected (tropical) diseases are high on the agenda. For many years, ITM has been actively involved in research on NTDs, in particular on leishmaniasis, leprosy and sleeping sickness.
  • vaccination-ctc
    Before vaccines or drugs can be used in the general population, their safety and effectiveness are thoroughly investigated in clinical trials.
  • larval-sampling-MEMO
    For more than 10 years, ITM has been actively monitoring exotic mosquitoes in Belgium.
  • microscope-monkeypox
    ITM is closely monitoring the development of the mpox disease, both in Belgium and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
  • women-participating-in-pregact-trial-nazoanga-burkina-faso-sexual-and-reproductive-health-itm
    We help improve sexual and reproductive health in the world by combining scientific research, advanced education, policy support and capacity-strengthening initiatives.
  • tuberculosis-lab-itm-1
    ITM’s research on tuberculosis (TB) is world-renowned. Its shorter combination treatment for resistant tuberculosis was a worldwide breakthrough. Our researchers study new diagnostics and case detection techniques, with the largest public collection of TB strains in the world at their disposal.
  • plant-in-soil-ecohealth
    EcoHealth is an interdepartmental group that unites researchers from different backgrounds and disciplines. We all recognise the need for comprehensive, systemic approaches to address current health challenges that emerge at the interface between humans, animals and their broader natural, social and political environments.
  • blood-sample-sti-hiv-tests-policlinic-itm
    Since the beginning, ITM has been providing medical services to people returning ill from overseas. As such, ITM accumulated profound knowledge of tropical diseases, as well as STIs and HIV.
  • nazoanga-marche-antibiotics-study
    The right to health implies that everybody, everywhere should have access to the needed essential health products, included but not limited to diagnostics, vaccines and medicines.
  • sampling-research-ethics-itm
    Clinical, epidemiological and diagnostics studies, secondary analyses of health data and BioSamples, behavioural studies or any other studies that involve the participation of human individuals, should yield social value and be scientifically justified and ethically sound.
  • outbreak-guinea-ebola
    In a highly interconnected world, ITM continues to innovate and develop its outbreak research capacity.
  • covid-19-itm-envelope-1
    ITM has decades of experience fighting infectious diseases and curbing epidemics. We are fully committed to helping stop the COVID-19 pandemic that is threatening the world. To this end, we work together with partners at home and abroad.
  • said-centre-de-traitement-ebola
    Ebola is a deadly disease that was co-discovered in 1976 by researchers of the institute. ITM has been closely monitoring subsequent outbreaks on the African continent, as well as contributing to new developments in diagnostics and treatment.

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