ARROW is the acronym for “Assessment of Resources and Research Opportunities in NeuroAIDS” that is linked to the symposium hold in Bucharest, 13-14 May 2013.
Currently there is renewed interest in HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) and their medical and social impact throughout the world. Although opportunistic neurologic complications and HIV dementia are decreasing due to the broad use of combination antiretroviral treatment, there are increasing numbers of HIV-infected individuals with milder forms of HAND that affect their daily activity and cognitive function. Furthermore, comorbidities can contribute to the HIV burden and impact on neurocognitive performance and clinical outcome. Eastern and Central European countries have different HIV epidemics and limited access to research especially in NeuroAIDS.
The first aim of the ARROW meeting was to bring together physicians and researchers from the region (Central and Eastern Europe) with international experts in NeuroAIDS studies. The second aim is to discuss clinical issues specific to our region and identify resources and research opportunities in NeuroAIDS. Finally, the third aim is to introduce the newly established Center of Excellence for NeuroAIDS Research at “Dr. Victor Babes” Hospital for Infectious and Tropical Diseases in Bucharest as a platform for future collaborations and training.
The two symposium days gathered together not only very interesting presentations from US-experts in neuroAIDS from regionals HIV specialists (Albania, Croatia, Poland, Russia) and Romanian specialists but also stimulating discussions. Romanian young physicians had the opportunity to present clinical cases and to get engaged in discussion with the guest speakers who are leading experts in the field and kindly offered to share their experience.
Several areas have been identified as being of interest for the region:
- HAND in young adults infected with HIV parenterally during early childhood – an unique cohort that can provide answers to several research questions as the impact of HIV on a developing brain, accelerating ageing in youngster
- Evaluation of HAND using a brief testing battery that has to be adapted to the local HIV epidemic
- Validation of international test batteries using local controls
- Assessment of HAND in Romanian ethno-botanical drug-users
- HAND and clade-related differences
- Possible impact of HBV-coinfection on HAND
- The ARROW-nc.ro site aims to offer a platform for specialists from the region:
- To create a network for research in neuro-AIDS
- To offer training for specialists – ARROW symposiums
- Network with experts – HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center (HNRC)- UCSD