Epidemiology of HIV/STIs and Global Health (CEEISCAT)

Jordi Casabona i Barbarà

The Centre for Epidemiological Studies of Sexually Transmitted Disease and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT) is located on the Can Ruti Campus in the Germans Trias Hospital Building.  It was constituted in 1995 to monitor the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS/STDs in Catalonia and to provide technical support for the senior management of the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health of the Generalitat (the Autonomous Government of Catalonia), now known as the Public Health Agency of Catalonia, for its health programs on HIV/AIDS and STDs.  It is a centre for research excellence that carries out applied research in this field.  The CEEISCAT reports to the Secretary for Public Health and carries out its research activities within the Germans Trias Health Science Research Institute (IGTP).

A multidisciplinary team of professionals carries out the duties of the CEEISCAT using both formal epidemiological tracking systems and specific observational studies that make up the Integrated Epidemiological Surveillances System for HIV/AIDS/STDs in Catalonia (SIVES).  Because most of the projects are carried out by multiple centres an essential and key aspect of the work is interaction with different national and international professional networks in clinical work, microbiology and epidemiology and also with NGOs that work with the target populations of the studies.

Currently the centre is an accredited Consolidated Group of the Catalan Agency for Management of University and Research Grants (AGAUR) and along with a strategic alliance with the Microbiology Service of the Germans Trias Hospital and the AIDs Foundation it forms a node (Group 27) in the Network of Excellence CIBERESP, from where it coordinates the Program for Structural and Biological Determinants in the Acquisition and Propagation of the Communicable Diseases in Vulnerable Populations (DAPET) and the Subprogram of Immigration and Health.

Research lines

Modelling and new methods of monitoring outbreaks of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

  • Develop and implement new methods of monitoring morbidity, mortality and trends in HIV and other STDs
  • Describe the determining risk behaviours for acquiring HIV/STDs in men who have sex with men (MSM), sex workers and people who inject drugs
  • Implement and evaluate serological IgG antibody capture techniques  during the course of HIV infection to incorporate the Recent Infection Testing Algorithm (RITA) to identify recent cases of HIV infection from amongst the new diagnoses
  • Apply the Spectrum/EPP2011 software developed by ONUSIDA to estimate the incidence of HIV in Catalonia using serological techniques, sentinel studies, observational studies and mathematical modelling
  • Estimate the prevalence of infection for hepatitis B and C Virus (HBV, HCV) in HIV positive patients in Catalonia and describe their clinical and epidemiological characteristics
  • Estimate and monitor the incidence of HIV and identify the factors associated with seroconversion in HIV-negative MSM recruits at a Barcelona-based centre

2.   Evaluation of preventive interventions for HIV and STDs and measures to prevent and control them

  • Describe the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to biomedical interventions for the prevention of HIV (pre-exposure prophylactic circumcision in MSM)
  • Describe knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in relation to the use of internet and mobile applications to notify the partners of patients diagnosed with a STD in MSM
  • Describe the use of condoms and the frequency of taking HIV tests in MSM, sex workers and people who inject drugs


Implementation studies for operational research in early diagnosis of HIV

  • Design, implement and evaluate a pilot study for the introduction of the rapid HIV test in primary health care centres in Catalonia
  • Identify and recommend criteria for offering the HIV test in primary health care centres based on identifier illnesses and behavioural criteria
  • Identify missed opportunities for offering HIV tests in primary health care centres in Catalonia
  • Design, implement and evaluate the acceptability and viability of a web-based platform for the evaluation of the risk of acquiring HIV, the provision of online advice and online collection of HIV test results
  • Evaluate a technique based on the real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that identifies STD-causing pathogens in genital or urine samples (C. trachomatis, N. gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma genitalium Ureaplasma urealyticum y Ureaplasma parvum)

Biological behavioural and structural determinants of the acquisition and propagation of communicable diseases in the immigrant population

  • Improve and monitor the knowledge of the state of health of the immigrant population regarding communicable and non-communicable diseases
  • Identify determinants related to health problems tied to diseases in the immigrant population
  • Identify biological markers of integration with the social environment of the immigrant population
  • Evaluate and improve the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving diagnostics and treatment and the prevention of disease in the immigrant population, including the use of alternative samples, such as dry blood, to avoid the loss of follow-ups
  • Facilitate training in health and migration for professionals unable to receive continuous in-person training

Metrics and social networks applied to the study of HIV and STDs

  • Study the socio-epidemiological characteristics of hidden populations of migrants using social networks
  • Apply social network analysis technology to the contact studies with patients diagnosed with STDs
  • Identify risk factors for the acquisition of HIV/STDs using social network studies based on localization

Prevention and Reduction of Sexual Violence against Sex Workers in Guatemala

  •  A project financed by UN Women with a duration of 2015-2016    

More information


Jordi Casabona i Barbarà, Director CEEISCAT

(+34) 93 497 8890