Q&A with Dr Sean Rourke on the neurologic complications of HIV

Dr Sean Rourke is a scientist with the Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital and Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.

Dr Sean Rourke from the University of Toronto and Dr Lucette Cysique from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) are leading an international taskforce to update the classification of neurologic complications from HIV. He sat down with to chat about their latest collaboration.


Tell us why you’ve come to NeuRA to work with Dr Cysique?

We are revising a document that was developed 10 years ago, that details the way neurologic complications that occur in HIV are characterised.

We’re also coediting a book that brings together all the leading clinicians and researchers of HIV around the world to talk about where we are with understanding how the brain is affected by HIV and what we still need to do.


Why is this work important?

It’s excellent opportunity to work with Lucette but to also work with people from around the world to restructure the criteria and bring to bear what we’ve learned in 10 years and restructure the criteria.

The criteria are working in some ways but it could be a lot better and the update will help us understand how it needs to change to push us forward for the next 10 years.


What are you hoping to achieve with this work?

One of the major things we’re trying to do is not only bring the international community together in HIV but also bridge across other disciplines not working in HIV because there’s a lot of work that’s underway around the world understanding ageing and the brain and what can go wrong.

We want to see how we can bring that expertise and knowledge into the context of HIV because I think that’s going to be really important as people with HIV are living longer.

It would be great to be able to prevent a lot of these things from happening in the first place. It’s good to be proactive. We need to educate health care providers and patients with HIV early on about what they can do to keep the brain healthy.

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