Publication Date



School of Health Sciences


Biology: Biomedical Sciences


human immunodeficiency virus, HIV, antiretroviral therapy, immunosuppression, sub-Saharan Africa, opioid management


Immunology and Infectious Disease | Medical Pharmacology | Medicine and Health | Molecular Biology | Virology


Human immunodeficiency virus, also referred to as HIV, is a devastating virus which has infected millions. Characterized as a retrovirus, HIV has an RNA genome, which is reverse transcribed into DNA upon entry into the host cell. HIV primarily affects CD4+ T cells and is diagnosed by the significant reduction of CD4+ T cells. While no cure has been discovered yet, antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been demonstrated as an effective treatment option. In the progression of HIV, additional HIV-associated diseases may arise, including HIV-associated psoriasis and sensory neuropathy. In addition to the use of ART, clinicians often prescribe opioids to manage the chronic pain experienced by patients with HIV. However, studies have demonstrated the immunosuppressant properties of opioids, which enhance HIV infection and must therefore be taken into consideration in the treatment of HIV.