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Does antiretroviral therapy for HIV reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis?
  1. Mia L van der Kop
  1. Correspondence to Mia van der Kop, Epidemiologist, University of British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, Doctoral student, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, 655 12th Avenue West, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V57 4R4; miavanderkop{at}

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In 2011, a case was reported in which a patient with multiple sclerosis (MS) and HIV was treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART)—he did not experience MS-related deficits for over a decade.1 This prompted researchers in Denmark (Nexø et al) to examine the association between MS and HIV using population-based databases. Although they found a reduced incidence of MS in HIV-positive individuals compared with the general population, their study did not achieve a conventional level of statistical significance.2 I was recently asked to review the Gold et al study,3 which has answered the Danish researchers’ call for a larger study to investigate whether HIV, or its treatment, has a protective effect on the development of MS.

Similar to the original Danish study, Gold et al used administrative health databases to fulfil their research objectives; in …

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  • Funding MLVDK is supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Award – Doctoral Foreign Study Award (October 2012), offered in partnership with the CIHR Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research and the CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Initiative.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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