Department of Infectious Diseases, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.
The human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) enters the central nervous system compartment within the first few weeks of systemic HIV infection and may cause a spectrum of neurologic complications. Without combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), 50-90% of all HIV-infected infants and children develop some form of neuroAIDS. Of the estimated 2.3 million children less than 15 years of age who were living in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2014, only 30% were receiving cART, suggesting that there is a large burden of neuroAIDS among HIV-infected children in sub-Saharan Africa. There is complex interplay between the disease process itself, the child's immune reaction to the disease, the secondary complications, the side-effects of antiretroviral drugs, and inadequate antiretroviral drug uptake into the central nervous system. In addition there is the layering effect from the multiple socioeconomic challenges for children living in low- and middle-income countries. Adolescents may manifest with a range of neurocognitive sequelae from mild neurocognitive disorder through to severe neurocognitive impairment. Neuroimaging studies on white-matter tracts have identified dysfunction, especially in the frontostriatal networks needed for executive function. Psychiatric symptoms of depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and behavioral problems are also commonly reported in this age group. Antiretroviral drugs may cause treatment-limiting neurologic and neuropsychiatric adverse reactions. The following chapter addresses the neurologic complications known to be, and suspected of being, associated with HIV infection in children and adolescents.
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