Does adoption status impact brain structure in adolescents who acquired HIV perinatally?

Takeaway

  • White matter (WM) integrity is compromised in perinatally acquired HIV (PHIV) adolescents, regardless of adoption status and despite effective combination antiretroviral therapy (cART).

Why this matters

  • HIV is associated with negative neurological outcomes, and such complications may still occur despite suppressive cART.

  • Adoption has previously been associated with neglect and malnutrition, leading to altered brain development independently of HIV status.

  • This study reveals that PHIV adolescents experience a higher neuropathological burden compared to HIV-negative individuals, which is unlikely due to adoption, but may be related to their HIV status. The early life period may present a critical opportunity for clinical intervention to prevent HIV-associated brain damage later in life.