Initially described in 1984, human immunodeficiency virus-associated nephropathy (HIVAN) has now become a common disease within the HIV-seropositive population. It is a focal segmental glomerulosclerosis causing rapid deterioration of renal function. It is the most common cause of chronic renal disease in HIV patients and occurs almost exclusively in blacks. Through murine and human studies, it is now clear that HIVAN is caused by a direct effect of infection of renal cells by HIV-1 and that the virus actively replicates within renal cells. How the virus causes disease within cells is not yet understood, but there is evidence for factors within infected cells causing both proliferation and apoptosis. Steroids, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) have been used for the treatment of HIVAN, with HAART, in particular, showing a dramatic improvement in both the pathologic changes and clinical course of HIVAN.
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