HIV found to hide in brain, central nervous system

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 09 2001 12:00 AM ET

The brain and the central nervous system appear to be special targets of HIV and serve as major hiding places where the virus lurks even as blood-based viral levels are diminished through antiretroviral therapy, Newsday reports. Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston presented studies at the 8th Annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showing that “the central nervous system is a reservoir for HIV, probably in the macrophages in the brain,” said Dana Gabuzda, MD. Ongoing damage to brain and central nervous system neurons caused by lurking HIV may help explain why some AIDS complications, like encephalitis, dementia, and the loss of feeling in the arms and legs, continue at relatively high levels while other opportunistic infections decline in patients taking highly active antiretroviral therapy.