Advances in treatment for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have made it possible for people with HIV to survive much longer. As they age, however, many experience impaired thinking, memory loss, mood swings and other evidence of impaired mental function.
To stop these changes, scientists have to learn what is causing them. One possibility researchers are considering is that long-term infections with other pathogens, common in HIV-positive patients, are affecting the brain. But a new study has eliminated one of their prime suspects: the hepatitis C virus, which infects about one in every three HIV-positive patients in the United States.
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