Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can cause both primary and secondary brain diseases. Numerous neuropathological studies have shown that up to 90% of patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) have lesions in the nervous system. In this review, we discuss the entry of HIV into the brain, the general features of HIV associated neuropathology, the role of different brain cells in HIV mediated neuronal damage, and the putative molecular mechanisms involved. We conclude by correlating which factors might be important in the development of HIV associated dementia.
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