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HIV and the BBB.



HIV HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), either of two closely related retroviruses that invade T-helper lymphocytes and are responsible for AIDS. There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is responsible for the vast majority of AIDS in the United States.  can cause damage to the brain, including problems in thinking and understanding information. This damage is thought to occur because certain HIV drugs cannot get into the brain to suppress To stop something or someone; to prevent, prohibit, or subdue.

To suppress evidence is to keep it from being admitted at trial by showing either that it was illegally obtained or that it is irrelevant.
 the HIV infection. The blood-brain barrier blood-brain barrier
n. Abbr. BBB
A physiological mechanism that alters the permeability of brain capillaries so that some substances, such as certain drugs, are prevented from entering brain tissue, while other substances are allowed to
 (BBB BBB

A medium grade assigned to a debt obligation by a rating agency to indicate an adequate ability to pay interest and repay principal. However, adverse developments are more likely to impair this ability than would be the case for bonds rated A and above.
)is a tightly connected network of cells that surrounds the brain and protects it from outside substances. However, the BBB also prevents many beneficial drugs from entering the brain. At the conference, 2 studies questioned whether using HIV medications that are able to get through the BBB actually protect against damage caused by HIV. In the first study (abstract 501), the cognitive ability of 32 HIV+ patients taking one of the medications believed to penetrate the BBB was compared to that of 14 HIV+ patients not taking one of these drugs. A second study (abstract 508) examined 165 HIV+ patients and compared cognitive ability in those patients taking an HIV medication thought to penetrate the BBB to those patients who were not. Both studies found that a higher viral load viral load
n.
The concentration of a virus, such as HIV, in the blood.


viral load,
n a measure of the number of virus particles present in the bloodstream, expressed as copies per milliliter.
 was associated with cognitive problems, rather than the specific HIV medications. In the second study, higher levels of education were shown to protect patients against these types of problems. In terms of protecting the brain and the body from HIV, the most important factor is keeping viral load low. Patients should be sure to have their viral load measured every 3 to 4 months and take HIV medications regularly and on-time.
COPYRIGHT 2004 The Center for AIDS: Hope & Remembrance Project
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:11th Retrovirus Conference Highlights; blood-brain barrier
Publication:HIV Treatment: ALERTS!
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
Words:239
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