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PIRC: Primary Infection Resource Consortium

The UC San Diego Primary Infection Resource Consortium (PIRC) is the largest, most intensively studied and well-characterized longitudinal cohort of acute and early HIV infected (AEH) individuals in the United States. The program is primarily supported by the Division of AIDS (DAIDS) of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)/National Institutes of Health (NIH). We collect critically important clinical and biological samples, which are then archived for use by national and international investigators studying a range of high-priority research questions relevant to the earliest stages of HIV infection (i.e., cure, prevention, aging, viral evolution, immune dysfunction, vaccines, transmission, etc.) 

The PIRC supports the infrastructure resources necessary to collect detailed clinical, behavioral and biological data associated with these samples. The data generated under the PIRC are available to qualified researchers, following review and approval of a peer-reviewed concept proposal. PIRC investigations have positively impacted research direction and policy in many areas including: informing consensus guidelines for HIV treatment, establishing best practices for the management of persons with acute and early HIV infection, and developing and evaluating HIV infection control strategies. PIRC research has also contributed to our understanding of early neutralizing antibody responses, viral decay kinetics, viral compartmentalization, predictors of sexual transmission, and the importance of early treatment to immunologic recovery.

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What We Provide

The Primary Infection Resource Consortium includes these core services and objectives:

  • HIV screening programs to detect and stage acute, recent and chronic infection

  • Provision of partner services to confidentially link sexual partners of persons newly diagnosed with HIV and STI to testing, treatment, specialty care services and prevention interventions as needed

  • Provide prompt access to antiretroviral treatment and pre-exposure prophylaxis

  • Molecular epidemiology expertise

  • Maintain and curate our unique biorepository of biological samples

What is Primary Infection?

Primary infection is the period within the first year of HIV infection. Participants who are diagnosed and treated within the first year have better health outcomes than those who are diagnosed later.

PIRC focuses on detecting individuals in the acute stage of infection, by performing reflex HIV nucleic acid testing (NAT) in all persons with negative finger-stick HIV rapid test results. The PIRC testing algorithm uses individual donation HIV NAT (ID-NAT, i.e., not pooled), enabling HIV diagnosis at the earliest possible time-point after infection.

PIRC and the Community

The PIRC is made possible by a partnership of community volunteers and research scientists dedicated to supporting HIV research since 1996. The PIRC provides participant-centered services in a safe environment where newly persons newly diagnosed with HIV are provided support, education and answers to their pressing questions from caring and compassionate professionals. Many participants find contributing to HIV research is a highly rewarding experience.


PIRC has been continuously supported by research grant funding from the following organizations and agencies:

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