Information about the study visit


The AGEhIV study visits

AGEhIV study participants are invited for a study visit once every two years at the HIV outpatient clinic at the AMC or at the research department of the GGD Amsterdam. A study visit takes approximately 2 – 2,5 hours to complete. During a study visit the following research activities are carried out:


Questions about health and comorbidities

Together with the research nurse the participants will go through a questionnaire. The questionnaire involves questions regarding the prevalence of various comorbidities, such as heart disease, cancer or lung disease. In addition, the prevalence of several risk factors and the extent to which the participant has made use of health care will be evaluated.

Blood pressure measurement

During a study visit, blood pressure is measured three times while being seated.

Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG)

An electrocardiograph is used to record the electrical activity of the heart using electrodes placed on the skin of the chest, arms and legs. The electrodes detect electrical changes on the skin that are causes by the electrical activity of the heart muscle. The electrical activity is translated to several lines on a sheet of paper and can then provide information about the functioning of the heart.

Arteriograph: measurement of the arterial stiffness

The Arteriograph is used to measure the arterial stiffness. This measurement takes place in supine position (laying down). A cuff is placed around the upper arm, and measures the arterial stiffness. The measurement is similar to a blood pressure measurement and takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes. It is carried out at least three times in order to obtain a reliable arterial stiffness measurement. Increased arterial stiffness is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

FibroScan: measurement of liver stiffness

The FibroScan is a non-invasive technology measuring the amount of scar tissue in the liver. This scar tissue is also called fibrosis. Fibrosis can decrease the functioning of the liver. The FibroScan test is an ultrasound examination. The machine generates sound waves, which will be transformed to moving images, visible on the screen. During the test an ultrasound probe, with some gel, will be placed on the right upper side of the belly. The probe generates sound waves, and measures the speed of the return of these sound waves, which provides information on the amount of scar tissue.


The AGEreader measures AGEs (advanced glycation endproducts) in the skin. AGEs are glycosylated proteins which can accumulate within tissues. These AGEs are thought to be a good predictor of cardiovascular disease. Since the exact meaning of the AGEreader-value is not yet fully elucidated, the AGEreader is mainly used in research projects. We hope to clarify the clinical value of measurement of AGEs with the AGEreader using data from the AGEhIV Cohort Study.

Frailty test

The “frailty test” (Fried’s frailty phenotype) includes questions and measurements regarding weight loss, grip strength, and gait speed. These measurements are used to indicate whether an individual is “frail”. Frailty is associated with an increased risk of falling, hospitalizations and death.



Grip strength measurement

Spirometry (pulmonary function test)


Spirometry measures lung function, specifically the amount and speed of air that can be inhaled and exhaled. The test consists of two parts. During the first part of the test, the participant is asked to inhale as deep as possible, and then exhale into the sensor as strong and as long as possible. During the second part of the test, the maximum volume of air present in the lungs is measured. The combination of the two tests results is an estimation of the lung function.


Bone mineral density scan

A bone mineral density scan (or DEXA scan) is performed at the department of nuclear medicine. During this measurement, the density of the bone is measured at various locations of the body, being the lumbar spine (lower back), the femoral neck (upper leg bone) and the complete hip. A decrease in bone mineral density (osteoporosis) increases the risk of a fracture.

Blood, urine and stool samples

During the study visit blood, urine and stool samples are collected. Immediately after the study visit, extensive laboratory tests are performed on the blood and urine samples. The stool samples, and part of the blood and urine samples, are stored for future research.


We ask each participant to complete a questionnaire prior to or after the study visit. This questionnaire is of major importance. It greatly contributes to investigating the occurrence of comorbidities and risk factors. This data is crucial to answering one of the main research question of the study: do comorbidities occur more frequently in people living with HIV than in people without HIV?

GGD Amsterdam
HIV monitoring