A team of researchers has discovered HIV can begin replicating in the brain as early as four months after initial infection. After following 72 treatment naïve participants during the first two years of HIV infection, researchers observed that 20 percent of subjects showed replication in the central nervous system (CNS) at four months.
“This shows that viral replication and inflammation can occur early in infection with the concern being that the damage caused could be irreversible,” says study virologist Ronald Swanstrom, PhD, Director of the University of North Carolina’s Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC’s School of Medicine. “HIV and inflammation have the potential to accelerate the aging process and cause neurocognitive impairment, in the extreme case resulting in HIV-associated dementia.”
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