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.