The burden of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) in post-HAART era: A multidisciplinary review of the literature


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present multidisciplinary review is to give an updated insight into the most recent findings regarding the pathophysiology, diagnosis and therapeutics of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND). MATERIALS AND METHODS: We performed a comprehensive search, through electronic databases (Pubmed – MEDLINE) and search engines (Google Scholar), of peer-reviewed publications (articles and reviews) and conferences proceedings on HAND pathophysiology, diagnosis, and therapy, from 1999 to 2016. RESULTS: It seems to be increasingly clear that neurodegeneration in HIV-1 affected patients is a multi-faceted disease involving numerous factors, from chronic inflammation to central nervous system (CNS) compartmentalization of HIV. Diagnosis of HAND may benefit from both laboratory analysis and advanced specific neuroimaging techniques. As regards HAND therapy, modified HAART combinations and simplification strategies have been tested, while novel exciting frontiers seem to involve the use of nanoparticles with the ability to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB). CONCLUSIONS: Albeit highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) allowed a major decrease in morbidity and mortality for AIDS patients, CNS involvement still represents a challenge in HIV patients even today, affecting up to 50% of patients with access to combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Future studies will have to focus on CNS compartmentalization, drugs’ ability to penetrate and suppress viral replication in this compartment, and on new approaches to reduce HIV-associated neuroinflammation


Caruana G, Vidili G, Serra PA, Bagella P, Spanu A, Fiore V, Calvisi DF, Manetti R, Rocchitta G, Nuvoli S, Babudieri S, Simile MM, Madeddu G




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Mental Health
    • Neurocognitive disorders


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