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Simian Immunodeficiency Virus and Opiates 

Simian Immunodeficiency Virus and Opiates
Simian Immunodeficiency Virus and Opiates

Shilpa Buch

, Shannon Callen

, Paul Cheney

, and Anil Kumar

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date: 07 July 2020

Substantial data supports the notion that opioids negatively affect the immune system and potentiate HIV disease progression. In the central nervous system, morphine appears to exacerbate the neuropathogenesis of HIV through widespread disruption of astroglial and microglial function and potentiation of glial-derived cytokines and chemokines. Morphine exposure also reduces the threshold for neurotoxicity by potentiating the deleterious effects of marginally toxic inflammatory viral products. It is not surprising, therefore, that drug abusers are reported to have higher rates of both HIV encephalitis and HIV-associated neurological disorders compared to infected non-drug abusers. At the same time, and somewhat confusingly, there is evidence from epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory studies suggesting that opiates can actually have protective effects on the progression of HIV infections. One of the most promising models for clarifying this ambiguous situation is the non-human primate model, especially models using SIV infection of macaque monkeys. This chapter describes research on HIV and opiates in general, with a particular focus on work involving the macaque monkey.

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