HIV, which is short for human immunodeficiency virus, has not been predominantly in the news since the 90s’ but that does not mean that the number of people that get infected with this disease is smaller than it was in the past. Back in 2016, almost 37 million people were living with HIV and only half of them were able to get treatment. A newly published study focuses on the effects that HIV has on the human brain if there is no antiretroviral therapy done.
More about the study
It is no secret that HIV does affect the human brain in the form of reducing the volume and thickness of the cortex in a couple of regions but the problem was that scientists were not aware if these effects could be prevented with antiretroviral therapy. Researchers from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University decided to test out this premise in order to find the answer.
In order to do that, they decided to compare two different pieces of data. One came from 19 patients that were HIV-negative and the other came from 16 patients that were HIV-positive. What they found out was the fact that if the HIV infected patient does not get treatment, the longer that period of time without treatment is the longer the damage done to the brain is.
Now, after they started the treatment researchers saw that the cortical thickens in the frontal and temporal lobe improved slightly.
These findings show that HIV detection should be done very fast in order to start the antiretroviral therapy needed so that there is little to no damage done to the neurons. This study could also encourage people that live with HIV without seeking treatment to start doing so in order to make sure that they brain is not damaged.