Objective: The co-occurence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and syphilis may accelerate the course of both infections. We investigated whether remote syphilis infection augmented the activation of central nervous system (CNS) HIV infection and increased the frequency of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) abnormalities. Methods: The subjects consist of HIV seropositive men who had CSF as part of prospective neurological studies performed at the Johns Hopkins University. Prior syphilis infection was determined by measuring serum FTA-ABS. All subjects had received adequate treatment for syphilis with negative RPR's or RPR's ≤ 1:8 and completed a full neurological examination and underwent lumbar punctures for analysis of cerebrospinal fluid. A range of CSF tests were performed including HIV culture, p24 antigen, β2microglobulin (β2M) and CSF/albumin ratios. Results: The FTA positive group was significantly older (p = .005), more advanced in HIV clinical staging (p = .04), had more minor neurological symptoms (p = .03), and was more likely to be on antiretroviral therapy (p = .03). No differences between FTA positive and FTA negative groups were observed either in the frequency of CFS anbormalities or the mean CSF values. Conclusions: Based on these findings, it appears that adequately treated remote syphilis does not augment HIV-1 expression within the CNS.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology