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Int Rev Psychiatry. 2008 Feb;20(1):15-24. doi: 10.1080/09540260701862037.

The Neuropathology of HIV/AIDS.

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  • 1Neuropathology Unit, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

Abstract

The introduction of Highly Active Anti-retroviral Therapy (HAART) has resulted in significant decreases in morbidity and mortality for subjects infected with HIV. The brain is a major target organ for HIV resulting in significant neuropathological changes in most HIV infected subjects and a wide range of clinical neurological symptoms including HIV associated dementia. In the pre-HAART era HIV associated dementia was a common complication of AIDS. However, since the introduction of HAART the incidence of HIV associated dementia has fallen, but the prevelance has actually risen due to the increasing number of infected subjects and increased life expectancy. HIV associated dementia correlates most closely with neuroinflammation rather than directly with viral load or HIV encephalitis. HIV related clinical and neuropathological disorders are more prevalent in drug abusers than in other risk groups. This review focuses on the shifting pathology observed in HIV infected subjects since the introduction of HAART, discussing the clinical manifestations of these and the influence of confounding factors such as drug abuse and Hepatitis C co-infection.

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