Area of Research


The clinical HIV research of the HPSTD outpatient clinic (HIV/AIDS, Proctology, sexually transmitted diseases (STD))

focuses on ageing with HIV, chronic inflammation, comorbidities and long-term toxicities of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in people, who live with HIV infection, further developments of ART, attempts to cure HIV-infected patients with indications for bone marrow transplantation, severely ART-pretreated patients with resistance and HIV-infected patients with antiretroviral therapy failure. In addition to cardiovascular diseases, HIV-associated neoplasias such as Kaposi's sarcoma and anal carcinoma are being scientifically investigated.

Our center participates in national and international studies, e.g. the START study by the INSIGHT group, the ClinSurv Cohort of the Robert Koch Institute, via the DZIF in a study on neutralizing antibodies and in an HIV incidence study in men who have sex with men (MSM), within the US Military HIV Research Program (USMHRP) to assess the feasibility of an HIV vaccination study. All cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HIV-infected individuals will be systematically and prospectively collected and samples will be stored.

STI und Proctology

Prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections including hepatitis A, B and C are being researched in scientific projects.

At Essen University Hospital, we were one of the first centers in Europe to introduce high-resolution anoscopy for the early detection of HPV-associated lesions and anal carcinoma screening in people living with HIV infection. The treatment of genital warts and anal intraepithelial neoplasia is one of the main research areas, as is participation in vaccination studies against HPV.

PD Dr. med. Stefan Esser

Institute Director

Dermatology Clinic, Room 2.016

Tel. 0201/723-3878

Fax 0201/723-3845

Ongoing Studies

In-House studies


With the HIV HEART Aging Study, the largest prospective German cohort study on aging with HIV infection and cardiovascular disease in people living with HIV infection has been taking place in the Ruhr area for more than 15 years under the direction of the Essen Center (supported by ViiV, MSD, Janssen, Gilead and BMBF).


The TECAIN study investigates multicenter, prospectively, randomized, the effectiveness of topical treatment with trichloroacetic acid (T) compared to local electrocaustic ablation (EC) of histologically confirmed anal intraepithelial neoplasias (AIN) in people living with HIV infection (funded by the BMBF).

PrEP und Vaccination

Various studies examine individuals receiving pre-exposure prophylaxis against HIV in terms of effectiveness, STI screening, incidence and prevalence of STI, changes in risk behavior, and aptitude and willingness to participate in vaccination studies.

Low level viremia, virological failure and resistance

Despite antiretroviral therapy optimized on the basis of resistance testing, side effect management, compliance surveys and drug level measurements, some HIV-infected persons have a low level viremia after exclusion of a virological failure. We are investigating the clinical and immunological effects of this disease scientifically (supported by Janssen).

Customized Research

In customized research, we participate in the further development of antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV infection (injectables, long-acting substances, new substance classes, especially for severely pretreated patients with resistance) and in studies on vaccines against HIV, HSV, HPV and other STI.

Request for Clinical Samples

At the Institute for Translational HIV Research (ITHF), patient samples are collected, processed and archived daily for research purposes. Blood components and tissue samples are processed. There are collections up to 15 years old.

On request, clinical samples can also be made available to research groups outside the ITHF if the planned work is to be used for protection against HIV infection, improved treatment of HIV-infected persons or research into ways of curing HIV infection.

Please send us your request for clinical samples together with a project outline and specific information on the quantity and type of samples required using the link on the right.

Members of the Research Area in the HPSTD Outpatient Clinic

HPSTD-Outpatient Clinic

Tel. 0201/723-3696, Fax 0201/723-3631, Website


Medical Team:

Dr. med. Stefanie Sammet (Specialist in dermatovenerology, infectiologist), E-Mail

Felix Maischack (Specialist in internal medicine), E-Mail

Theodora Kanaki (Specialist in dermatovenerology), E-Mail

Nina Giese (Assistant physician), E-Mail


Care Team:

Heidi Wiehler (Team Leader, Study Nurse, Nurse), E-Mail

Anja Bunk (Nurse), E-Mail

Pia Schenk-Westkamp (Medical documentalist), E-Mail

Kornelia Krupok (Medical Assistant), E-Mail

Aylin Yavuz (Medical Assistant), E-Mail

Kimberly Solis-Sanchez (Medical Assistant), E-Mail


HIV HEART Aging Study-Team

Sarah Albayrak-Rena (Study Nurse), E-Mail

Franziska Kaiser (Study Nurse), E-Mail

Dr. rer. nat. Laven Maravani (Biometrician from the IMIBE (Institute for Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology), E-Mail

PD Dr. rer. medic. Börge Schmidt (Biometrician from the IMIBE), E-Mail

Konstantinos Bilbilis (Dipl.-Biologist from the IMIBE), E-Mail


Associated doctors and psychologists

PD Dr. med. Nico Reinsch (Cardiologist at the Alfried Krupp Hospital Essen and lecturer at the University of Witten / Herdecke), E-Mail

PD Dr. med. Sebastian Dolff (Infectiologist, Nephrologist, Infection Medicine Clinic UK Essen), E-Mail

PD Dr. med. Mark Stettner (Neurologist, Department of Neurology, UK Essen), E-Mail

Dr. rer. medic. Henrike Schecke (Psychological psychotherapist, head of addiction research, LVR-Klinikum, University of Duisburg Essen), E-Mail

PD Dr. rer. pol. Anja Neumann (Endowed chair for medical management at the University of Duisburg Essen), E-Mail

Prof. Dr. med. Hendrik Streeck (Institute Director Virology, UK Bonn), E-Mail

Publication List (selection)

1.            Sichtig N, Sierra S, Kaiser R, Däumer M, Reuter S, Schülter E, Altmann A, Fätkenheuer G, Dittmer U, Pfister H, Esser S. Evolution of raltegravir resistance during therapy. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Jul;64(1):25-32.

2.            Esser S, Gelbrich G, Brockmeyer N, Goehler A, Schadendorf D, Erbel R, Neumann T, Reinsch N. Prevalence of cardiovascular diseases in HIV-infected outpatients: results from a prospective, multicenter cohort study. Clin Res Cardiol. 2013 Mar;102(3):203-13.

3.            Kordelas L, Verheyen J, Beelen DW, Horn PA, Heinold A, Kaiser R, Trenschel R, Schadendorf D, Dittmer U, Esser S; Essen HIV AlloSCT Group. Shift of HIV tropism in stem-cell transplantation with CCR5 Delta32 mutation. N Engl J Med. 2014 Aug 28;371(9):880-2.

4.            Esser S, Krotzek J, Dirks H, Scherbaum N, Schadendorf D. Sexual risk behavior, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV transmission risks in HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) - approaches for medical prevention. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2017 Apr;15(4):421-428.

5.            Esser S, Kreuter A, Oette M, Gingelmaier A, Mosthaf F, Sautter-Bihl ML, Jongen J, Brockmeyer NH, Eldering G, Swoboda J, Postel N, Degen O, Schalk H, Jessen A, Knechten H, Thoden J, Stellbrink HJ, Schafberger A, Wieland U. German-Austrian guidelines on anal dysplasia and anal cancer in HIV-positive individuals: prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2015 Dec;13(12):1302-19.

6.            Schommers P, Gillor D, Hentrich M, Wyen C, Wolf T, Oette M, Zoufaly A, Wasmuth JC, Bogner JR, Müller M, Esser S, Schleicher A, Jensen B, Stoehr A, Behrens G, Schultze A, Siehl J, Thoden J, Taylor N, Hoffmann C. Incidence and risk factors for relapses in HIV-associated non-Hodgkin-lymphoma as observed in the German HIV-related lymphoma cohort study. Haematologica. 2018 May;103(5):857-864. 2018 Feb 8. pii: haematol.2017.180893. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2017.180893.

7.            Kehrmann J, Menzel J, Saeedghalati M, Obeid R, Schulze C, Holzendorf V, Farahpour F, Reinsch N, Klein-Hitpass L, Streeck H, Hoffmann D, Buer J, Esser S; HIV-HEART study group. Gut microbiota in HIV-infected individuals linked to coronary heart disease. J Infect Dis. 2019 Jan 9;219(3):497-508.. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiy524.

8.            Verheyen J, Thielen A, Lübke N, Dirks M, Widera M, Dittmer U, Kordales L, Däumer M, Jong TCM, Wensing AMJ, Kaiser R, Nijhuis M, Esser S. Rapid rebound of a preexisting CXCR4-tropic HIV variant after allogeneic transplantation with CCR5 delta32 homozygous stem cells. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 1;68(4):684-687.

9.            Gatell JM, Assoumou L, Moyle G, Waters L, Johnson M, Domingo P, Fox J, Martinez E, Stellbrink HJ, Guaraldi G, Masia M, Gompels M, De Wit S, Florence E, Esser S, Raffi F, Stephan C, Rockstroh J, Giacomelli A, Vera J, Bernardino JI, Winston A, Saumoy M, Gras J, Katlama C, Pozniak AL; NEAT022 Study Group. Immediate vs. Deferred Switching from a Boosted Protease Inhibitor (PI/r) Based Regimen to a Dolutegravir (DTG) Based Regimen in Virologically Suppressed Patients with High Cardiovascular Risk or Age ≥50 years: Final 96 Weeks Results of NEAT 022 study. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Feb 1;68(4):597-606.

10.         Storim J, Verheyen J, Wolff E, Wohlschlaeger J, Heintschel von Heinegg E, Schadendorf D, Esser S. Antiretroviral therapy suppresses rectal HIV-RNA shedding despite inflammation in MSM with rectal C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae infections-a cross-sectional, single-center study. Sex Transm Infect. 2019 Mar;95(2):95-98.

11.         Reinsch N, Streeck H, Holzendorf V, Schulze C, Neumann T, Brockmeyer NH, Kehrmann J, Schadendorf D, Esser S; HIV HEART Study Group. B-type natriuretic peptides for the prediction of cardiovascular events and mortality in patients living with HIV: Results from the HIV-HEART study. Int J Cardiol. 2019 Apr 15;281:127-132.

12.         Gupta SK, Post FA, Arribas JR, Eron JJ Jr, Wohl DA, Clarke AE, Sax PE, Stellbrink HJ, Esser S, Pozniak AL, Podzamczer D, Waters L, Orkin C, Rockstroh JK, Mudrikova T, Negredo E, Elion RA, Guo S, Zhong L, Carter C, Martin H, Brainard D, Sengupta D, Das M. Renal safety of tenofovir alafenamide vs tenofovir disoproxil fumarate: A pooled analysis of 26 clinical trials. AIDS. 2019 Jul 15;33(9):1455-1465.

13.         Korencak M, Byrne M, Richter E, Schultz BT, Juszczak P, Ake JA, Ganesan A, Okulicz JF, Robb ML, de Los Reyes B, Winning S, Fandrey J, Burgess TH, Esser S, Michael NL, Agan BK, Streeck H. Effect of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy on immune cellular functions. JCI Insight. 2019 Jun 20;4(12).

14.         Alejos B, Stella-Ascariz N, Montejano R, Rodriguez-Centeno J, Schwimmer C, Bernardino JI, Rodes B, Esser S, Goujard C, Sarmento-Castro R, De Miguel R, Esteban-Cantos A, Wallet C, Raffi F, Arribas JR; NEAT 001/ANRS 143 Study Group. Determinants of blood telomere length in antiretroviral treatment-naïve HIV-positive participants enrolled in the NEAT 001/ANRS 143 clinical trial. HIV Med. 2019 Sep 18. doi: 10.1111/hiv.12791

15.         Sax PE, Erlandson KM, Lake JE, McComsey GA, Orkin C, Esser S, Brown TT, Rockstroh JK, Wei X, Carter CC, Zhong L, Brainard DM, Melbourne K, Das M, Stellbrink HJ, Post FA, Waters L, Koethe JR. Weight Gain Following Initiation of Antiretroviral Therapy: Risk Factors in Randomized Comparative Clinical Trials. Clin Infect Dis. 2019 Oct 14. pii: ciz999. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciz999

16.         Orkin C, Eron JJ, Rockstroh J, Podzamczer D, Esser S, Vandekerckhove L, Van Landuyt E, Lathouwers E, Hufkens V, Jezorwski J, Opsomer M; AMBER study group. Week 96 results of a phase 3 trial of darunavir/cobicistat/emtricitabine/tenofovir alafenamide in treatment-naïve HIV-1 patients. AIDS. 2020 Apr 1;34(5):707-718. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000002463.

17.         Mysior P, Tenberken E, Stecher M, Vehreschild JJ, Schafberger A, Perea I, Brillen AL, Bartmeyer B, Esser S, Bremer V, Marcus U, Hoffmann D, Streeck H. Rapid Uptake of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) after Significant Price Reduction in Germany Highlights Importance of PrEP Accessibility. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2020 Sep;36(9):721-733. doi: 10.1089/AID.2019.0237. Epub 2020 May 11.

18.         Bickel M, Hoffmann C, Wolf E, Baumgarten A, Wyen C, Spinner CD, Jäger H, Postel N, Esser S, Mueller M, Stoehr A, Preis S, Klauke S, Schewe K; PROPHET study group of dagnae e.V. High effectiveness of recommended first-line antiretroviral therapies in Germany: a nationwide, prospective cohort study. Infection. 2020 May 11. doi: 10.1007/s15010-020-01428-1

19.         Korth J, Wilde B, Dolff S, Anastasiou OE, Krawczyk A, Jahn M, Cordes S, Ross B, Esser S, Lindemann M, Kribben A, Dittmer U, Witzke O, Herrmann A. SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody detection in healthcare workers in Germany with direct contact to COVID-19 patients. J Clin Virol. 2020 May 13:104437. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2020.104437

20.         Stecher M, Schommers P, Kollan C, Stoll M, Kuhlendahl F, Stellbrink HJ, Wasmuth JC, Stephan C, Hamacher L, Lehmann C, Boesecke C, Bogner J, Esser S, Fritzsche C, Haberl A, Hoffmann C, Jensen B, Schwarze-Zander C, Platten M, Fätkenheuer G, Schmidt D, Gunsenheimer-Bartmeyer B, Vehreschild JJ; ClinSurv Study Group.Treatment modification after starting cART in people living with HIV: retrospective analysis of the German ClinSurv HIV Cohort 2005-2017. Infection. 2020 Jul 1. doi: 10.1007/s15010-020-01469-6.