Tag: HIV

Beyond Imagining: Pediatric HIV Research Faces the Future

Originally published in the 2015 CHOP Research Annual Report.

I composed this original article based on multiple interviews and background literature research.


The HIV epidemic in 2015 and beyond is a dramatically different one than ever seen or imagined during the height of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and ‘90s.

“In the early days, up to a quarter of all infants born to women with HIV became infected. Now it’s less than one percent,” said Richard Rutstein, MD, an HIV clinical research leader and medical director of the Special Immunology Service at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since its inception in 1989. “For those infected, HIV has changed from a rapidly fatal disease to a chronic illness.” Dr. Rutstein is also a professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

At the front line of this evolution, CHOP researchers are helping infected pregnant women, infants, children, and youth around the world live full, productive lives.

Drugs May Be What’s the Matter With White Matter in HIV

Originally published in Bench to Bedside, the CHOP Research monthly publication

I composed this original article based on an interview with the investigators.


Some of the neurological and psychiatric complications associated with HIV may be side effects of the medications that control the virus, and not caused by the virus itself, according to a new study from researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania. Their pre-clinical findings were published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.

Certain antiretroviral drugs were associated with problems in developing myelin proteins in cell models and animal models, and the drugs were associated with reductions in white matter in autopsy brain samples from a cohort of individuals with HIV, reported the research team led by co-senior authors Judith Grinspan, PhD, research professor of Neurology at CHOP, and Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, PhD, chair and professor of Pathology at Penn’s School of Dental Medicine.

Both senior researchers emphasized that individuals with HIV should continue taking lifesaving antiretroviral drugs as prescribed. They hope their current and future findings can help researchers refine drug designs to reduce side effects, and help clinicians pursue prescribing practices that are risk-informed and tailored to the patient’s age and stage of brain development. These future changes could be particularly important for children with HIV whose brains are still developing.