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Neuropathy Is Linked to HIV's Severity

Neuropathy Is Linked to HIV's Severity


A study featured in the January 1 edition of Journal of Infectious Diseases indicates that antiretroviral drugs are not linked with the development of HIV-related peripheral neuropathy. Instead, high viral levels or low CD4-cell counts before beginning treatment are more likely to cause the condition, according to the study. Researchers analyzed data from nearly 4,400 HIV patients from an ongoing U.S. cohort study. They discovered that incidence of peripheral neuropathy peaked in 1995, before combination therapy was available, and it declined sharply after triple-drug cocktails became standard treatment. However, a low nadir CD4-cell count, particularly below 50 cells, and a viral load above 10,000 copies before beginning therapy were shown to boost neuropathy risks. The researchers theorize that HIV patients who develop neuropathy after starting therapy may have suffered from severely weakened immune systems before treatment began, which could have caused nerve tissue damage and a predisposition to the condition.

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