Research Topic

HIV and illicit drugs of abuse

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Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 75 million people have been infected with the HIV and about 36 million people have died of HIV. Globally, approximately 35.3 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2012. Injection drug use is the second most common mode of HIV transmission in the United ...

Since the beginning of the epidemic, almost 75 million people have been infected with the HIV and about 36 million people have died of HIV. Globally, approximately 35.3 million people were living with HIV at the end of 2012. Injection drug use is the second most common mode of HIV transmission in the United States. In addition, non-injection illicit drug use may facilitate sexual transmission of HIV. Injection and non-injection illicit drugs include heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and club drugs like methamphetamine, ketamine, gamma-hydroxybutyrate [GHB], and amyl nitrate (poppers). The most commonly used illicit drugs associated with HIV infection are heroin and stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines, however, the use of club drugs has increased substantially in the past several years and is common among individuals who have HIV infection or who are at risk of HIV infection. In addition to increasing the risk of HIV transmission, substance use can affect people’s overall health and make them more susceptible to HIV infection and, in those already infected with HIV, substance use can hasten disease progression and negatively affect adherence to treatment. The contribution of drugs of abuse as a major comorbidity risk for neurocognitive dysfunction in HIV-positive individuals is a major concern worldwide. The neuroinflammation associated with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) reported to be exacerbated by drugs of abuse, as demonstrated by brain autopsy studies revealing a higher prevalence of HIV encephalitis [microglia activation, presence of multinucleated giant cells, and blood brain barrier disruption] in drug-abusing HIV-positive individuals in comparison with non abusing HIV-positive controls. Therefore, studies to explore the molecular mechanisms behind the increased susceptibility of HIV infection and neuropathogenecity in drug abusers are necessary for better understanding and designing the treatment regimen for HIV infected drug abusers.

The aim of this Research Topic in Frontiers in Microbiology is to publish state of the art research about the risk of HIV transmission, levels of HIV infection, progression to AIDS and neurotoxic effects of different illicit drugs of abuse in HIV infected patients. In this Research Topic, we welcome contributions of original research articles, reviews or opinions, methods, hypothesis and theory that related to the proposed topic.


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