Oz scientists claim to have found reason for HIV-dementia link

Oz scientists claim to have found reason for HIV-dementia link

The researchers have worked out that HIV can hide in the brain, protected from the immune system and anti-viral drugs. That brain infection can often lead to dementia, according to ABC report.

About a fifth of HIV patients have dementia and the number is growing as new drugs help patients live longer.

Burnet Institute research fellow Lachlan Gray said once the virus enters a brain cell it changes.

"It sort of took a low profile and just sort of went silent. So in doing so, that's the way it's evaded or hid out within cells," Gray was quoted as saying by the ABC.

"It didn't really produce any viral proteins so then the immune system and the drugs couldn't see the virus.

Gray also said that the discovery will help with the manufacturing of new drugs."We should be able to design drugs to reactivate the virus (HIV) and then the immune cells and the drugs will be able to see the infected cells and clear them from the brain," he said.

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