• DO note lapses in memory or motor abilities. Early detection allows early treatment, increasing your chance to reverse any problems totally.
• DON’T do meth or coke. These drugs have been shown to damage the brain—even when used occasionally.
• DO try crosswords, sudoku and other mental challenges. They won’t fully protect your brain, but they may help remedy impaired functioning and help you notice when problems are worsening.
• DO take all HIV meds consistently. Keeping HIV checked can help keep CD4 levels up. (Low CD4 counts seem to connect with brain problems.)
• DO choose an HIV med that penetrates the central nervous system if you have cognitive problems before you start your first HIV regimen (see box below).
The Latest List of HIV meds that cross into the brain: zidovudine (in Retrovir, Combivir and Trizivir); abacavir (in Ziagen, Epzicom and Trizivir); emtricitabine (in Emtriva, Truvada and Atripla); nevirapine (Viramune); lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra); maraviroc (Selzentry); and ritonavir-boosted atazanavir (Reyataz); fosamprenavir (Lexiva), indinavir (Crixivan) and darunavir (Prezista).