About the Amsterdam Cohort Study
The Amsterdam Cohort Study (ACS) on HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne infections (BBI), sexually transmittable infections (STI) and other infections is a prospective observational cohort study. The ACS among men who have sex with men (MSM) started in 1984. In 1985, the study was expanded to include people who use drugs (PWUD).
Early on, research focused on HIV/AIDS. Later, the study was broadened to include research on hepatitis viruses A,B, and C, Chlamydia, gonorrhoeae, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpesviruses, coronaviruses, etc. From the outset, research within the ACS has taken a multidisciplinary approach. The ACS investigates the prevalence and incidence of infections, associated determinants and the natural course and pathogenesis of these infections.
ACS among people who use drugs (PWUD)
As of 31 December 2016, 1,680 PWUD were included in the ACS and contributed 28,194 visits. In 2014, the cohort was closed to new participants. Regular follow up of PWUD continued until February 2016. All PWUD who had ever participated in the ACS were then invited for an end-of-study interview and follow up was successfully ended in July 2016.
ACS among men who have sex with men (MSM)
As of 31 December 2020, 2,901 MSM were included in the ACS. Every three to six months, participants complete a standardised questionnaire designed to obtain data regarding medical history, sexual behaviour and drug use, psychosocial determinants, health care use, signs of depression and other psychological disorders, and demographics. Moreover, blood is collected for diagnostic tests and storage at the ACS biobank.
Collaborating Institutes and Funding
Within the ACS, different institutes collaborate to bring together data and biological sample collections, and to conduct research. These include:
From the start, Sanquin Blood Supply Foundation has been involved in the ACS and, since 2007, has provided financial support for the biobank of viable peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) at the AMC’s Department of Experimental Immunology. In addition, there are numerous collaborations between the ACS and other research groups, both within and outside the Netherlands.
The ACS is financially supported by the Centre for Infectious Disease Control Netherlands of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Centrum voor Infectieziektenbestrijding-Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVM-CIb).
The ACS team consists of scientists with different background, PhD students, study nurses, medical doctors and data managers. Data collection takes place at the GGD Amsterdam and additional lab tests are performed at the UMC Amsterdam, location Meibergdreef. The study is directed by the steering committee. The advisory board advices on the scientific direction of the study.