Opioid abuse and SIV infection in non-human primates

Uma Maheswari Deshetty, Sudipta Ray, Seema Singh, Shilpa Buch, Palsamy Periyasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and drug abuse are intertwined epidemics, leading to compromised adherence to combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) and exacerbation of NeuroHIV. As opioid abuse causes increased viral replication and load, leading to a further compromised immune system in people living with HIV (PLWH), it is paramount to address this comorbidity to reduce the NeuroHIV pathogenesis. Non-human primates are well-suited models to study mechanisms involved in HIV neuropathogenesis and provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms involved in the comorbidity of HIV and drug abuse, leading to the development of more effective treatments for PLWH. Additionally, using broader behavioral tests in these models can mimic mild NeuroHIV and aid in studying other neurocognitive diseases without encephalitis. The simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)–infected rhesus macaque model is instrumental in studying the effects of opioid abuse on PLWH due to its similarity to HIV infection. The review highlights the importance of using non-human primate models to study the comorbidity of opioid abuse and HIV infection. It also emphasizes the need to consider modifiable risk factors such as gut homeostasis and pulmonary pathogenesis associated with SIV infection and opioid abuse in this model. Moreover, the review suggests that these non-human primate models can also be used in developing effective treatment strategies for NeuroHIV and opioid addiction. Therefore, non-human primate models can significantly contribute to understanding the complex interplay between HIV infection, opioid abuse, and associated comorbidities. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • HIV
  • NeuroHIV
  • Neuropathogenesis
  • Non-human primates
  • Opioid abuse
  • SIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


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