HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: risk factors and genetics

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2012 Jun;16(3):226-36. doi: 10.1007/s11916-012-0257-z.


HIV-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) remains a common neurological complication of HIV infection despite the introduction of effective antiretroviral therapies. Exposure to neurotoxic antiretroviral drugs and increasing age have consistently been identified as risk factors for HIV-SN, while comorbid conditions with underlying predisposition to cause peripheral neuropathy (eg, diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, isoniazid exposure), ethnicity, and increasing height also have been implicated. Genetic association studies have identified genes affecting mitochondrial function and genes involved in the inflammatory response that modify the risk for HIV-SN among patients exposed to neurotoxic antiretrovirals. However, there is a lack of data on clinical, demographic, and genetic risk factors for HIV-SN in the modern era, with the rate of HIV-SN remaining unacceptably high despite the introduction of safer medications. Thus, more work is required to identify the principal factors that increase an individual's risk for HIV-SN so that effective preventative or therapeutic strategies can be implemented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / genetics
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Aging / genetics
  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / virology
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents
  • Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors