Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences, Bangalore 560 029, India.
Neurological manifestations of HIV infection and AIDS are being recognized with a frequency that parallels the increasing number of AIDS cases. Next to sub-Saharan Africa, India has the second largest burden of HIV related pathology, essentially caused by HIV-1 clade C in both the geographic locales, in contrast to USA and Europe. But the true prevalence of HIV related neuroinfections and pathology is not available due to inadequate medical facilities, social stigma and ignorance that lead to underdiagnosis. Neurotuberculosis, followed by cryptococcosis and toxoplasmosis in various combinations are the major neuropathologies reflecting the endemicity and manifesting clinically by reactivation of latent infection. Discordance in the clinical prevalence of various infections, when compared to pathological studies highlight similarities in clinical, radiological modalities of diagnosis and inherent problems in establishing definitive diagnosis. Viral infections appear to be relatively rare. Inspite of heavy burden of HIV/AIDS, HIV associated neoplasia is infrequent, including primary CNS lymphomas. HIV encephalitis and HIV associated dementia are considered infrequent, though systematic studies have just been initiated in various centres. Peripheral neuropathy characteristically manifests with vasculitic neuropathy while diffuse infiltrative lymphocytosis syndrome (DILS) involving nerves has not been reported from India. Spinal cord pathology including vacuolar myelopathy is rare, even in asymptomatic cases. Till now the AIDS cases in India were drug naive but a new cohort of cases following initiation of HAART therapy as a national policy is soon emerging, altering the biology and evolution of HIV/AIDS in India. Lacunae in the epidemiology, diagnosis and study of biology of HIV/AIDS are outlined for future research.
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