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Clinical and Pathological Features of HIV-1 Encephalopathy in Children and Adolescents 

Clinical and Pathological Features of HIV-1 Encephalopathy in Children and Adolescents
Clinical and Pathological Features of HIV-1 Encephalopathy in Children and Adolescents

Mark Mintz

, Leroy R. Sharer

, and Lucy A. Civitello

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date: 07 July 2020

With the advent of effective antiretroviral drugs administered to HIV-infected women, the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of HIV-1 infection has been dramatically reduced. However, there are many parts of the world where there is inadequate accessibility or compliance with protocols to disrupt perinatal HIV-1 infection, or there remains a prevalence of horizontal modes of infection, and thus, HIV-1 infection in children continues to be an important international public health crisis, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. A defining clinical feature of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), HIV-1-associated Progressive Encephalopathy (PE) can cause impairment of brain development and growth, leading to significant motor dysfunction, neurodevelopmental regression and neurocognitive impairment. From the direct and indirect effects of HIV-1 infection, as well as drug toxicities, the central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS/PNS) of HIV-1 infection are also susceptible to stroke, seizures, opportunistic infections, CNS lymphomas, myelopathies, myopathies, neuropathies and neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuropathological studies have led to a better understanding of the neuropathogenesis of HIV-1 infection and associated complications. Combination antiretroviral drug therapies are crucial in combating PE, and have led to a marked reduction in the incidence and prevalence of PE.

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