A series of three conferences are proposed 18 months apart to be held in Oct 2010, June 2012 and Oct 2013 on HIV and the Nervous System. These conferences will be held in conjunction with the International Society of Neurovirology meetings. Each of the conferences on HIV and the Nervous System will feature 6 plenary sessions, with two speakers/ plenary session, poster sessions, investigators in training sessions and platform sessions for selected abstracts. This is the only conference of its kind that will bring together basic and clinical researchers to address issues related to the establishment and eradication of viral reservoirs in the brain, development of biomarkers for neurological complications of HIV infection and the approaches towards development of novel therapeutic approaches. The latest advances in the discovery of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the HIV associated neurological disorders (HAND) will be discussed. The conference will provide an excellent opportunity for interactions with other neurovirologists investigating the neuropathogenesis of other viral infections, where similar issues of viral latency and neuronal dysfunction are being addressed. Particular emphasis will be on the role of neuroinflammation in mediating these diseases and the targets that could be of therapeutic importance. There is increased awareness that HAND is present in the vast majority of patients despite peripheral control of HIV infection with antiretroviral drugs. This has enormous socio-economic consequences on society since these patients now live for many years despite progressive decline in neurological function. Yet, to date there in no effective treatment and the clinical trials are in great need for reliable surrogate markers. For these reasons, the proposed conferences will play an important and a critical part in advancing new concepts and collaborations focused on a common goal. A huge amount of effort has been put into the planning and organization of these conferences to maintain a high scientific standard. The organizers also recognize that HIV infection disproportionately involves minority populations, yet researchers from minority populations are underrepresented in the scientific community. Hence women and minorities have been included at all levels of planning and organization of this conference.
PROJECT SUMMARY With the wide spread use of antiretroviral drugs, the pattern of neurological manifestations of HIV infection has drastically changed. Despite excellent control of viral load mild cognitive impairment continues to persist and progress in the vast majority of these patients. The underlying causes remain unclear and to date there is no effective treatment. Bringing together researchers from around the world focused on investigating these issues is an essential part of the process to generate new ideas and establish important breakthroughs.