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Combination antiretroviral treatment is associated with clear benefits in HIV-positive subjects, and is also effective in the central nervous system (CNS), meaning HIV-associated dementia is now an uncommon event. Nevertheless, a significant number of patients show symptoms of neurocognitive impairment which may negatively affect their quality of life. Although several risk factors for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders have been identified, there is no clear recommendation for their prevention and management. In this review, the penetration of drugs into the cerebrospinal fluid/CNS is discussed as well as the viral and clinical consequences associated with higher/lower compartmental exposure. We also review the potential interventions according to the currently identified underlying mechanisms, including persistent CNS immune activation, legacy effects, low-level viral replication and escape, co-morbidities, and antiretroviral-associated direct and indirect 'neurotoxicity'. Adjunctive therapies and interventions (including neuro-rehabilitation) are then briefly discussed. The treatment of HIV infection in the CNS is a complex area of therapeutics requiring multidisciplinary interventions and further study.


A Calcagno, G Di Perri, S Bonora. Treating HIV Infection in the Central Nervous System. Drugs. 2017 Feb;77(2):145-157

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PMID: 28070871

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