Background. With implementation of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), changes to brain integrity in people with HIV (PWH) are subtle compared to those observed in the pre-cART era. T1-weighted/T2-weighted (T1w/T2w) ratio has been proposed as a measure of cortical myelin. This study examines T1w/T2w values between virologically controlled PWH and persons without HIV (PWoH). Methods. Virologically well-controlled PWH (n = 164) and PWoH (n = 120) were compared on global and regional T1w/T2w values. T1w/T2w values were associated with HIV disease variables (nadir and current CD4 T-cell count, and CNS penetration effectiveness of cART regimen) in PWH, and as a function of age for both PWoH and PWH. Results. PWH had reduced global and regional T1w/T2w values compared to PWoH in the posterior cingulate cortex, caudal anterior cingulate cortex, and insula. T1w/T2w values did not correlate with HIV variables except for a negative relationship with CNS penetration effectiveness. Greater cardiovascular disease risk and older age were associated with lower T1w/T2w values only for PWH. Conclusions. T1w/T2w values obtained from commonly acquired MRI protocols differentiates virologically well-controlled PWH from PWoH. Changes in T1w/T2w ratio do not correlate with typical HIV measures. Future studies are needed to determine the biological mechanisms underlying this measure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2161-2169
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 15 2022


  • HIV
  • T1w/T2w
  • myelin


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