Treatment of HIV in the CNS: effects of antiretroviral therapy and the promise of non-antiretroviral therapeutics

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2014 Sep;11(3):353-62. doi: 10.1007/s11904-014-0223-y.


The growing recognition of the burden of neurologic disease associated with HIV infection in the last decade has led to renewed efforts to characterize the pathophysiology of the virus within the central nervous system (CNS). The concept of the AIDS-dementia complex is now better understood as a spectrum of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND), which range from asymptomatic disease to severe impairment. Recent work has shown that even optimally treated patients can experience not only persistent HAND, but also the development of new neurologic abnormalities despite viral suppression. This has thrown into question what the impact of antiretroviral therapy has been on the incidence and prevalence of neurocognitive dysfunction. In this context, the last few years have seen a concentrated effort to identify the effects that antiretroviral therapy has on the neurologic manifestations of HIV and to develop therapeutic modalities that might specifically alter the trajectory of HIV within the CNS.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / drug therapy*
  • Anti-HIV Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers
  • Central Nervous System / virology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV-1
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • RNA, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid


  • Anti-HIV Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • RNA, Viral