The introduction of the HIV aspartic peptidase inhibitors (HIV-PIs) has revolutionized the
medical arena, since they have drastically reduced the number and the severity of opportunistic infections,
including the protozoal diseases that afflict the HIV-infected individuals worldwide. HIV-PIs
rapidly and profoundly diminish the viral load, which is paralleled by increase in the CD4+ T lymphocyte
counts and stimulation of the survival and activation of neutrophil, monocyte and endothelial
cells, culminating in a vigorous reduction in the number of deaths due to the AIDS, in the number of
new cases of AIDS and in the number of hospitalization days. Many research groups around the globe
are trying to decipher both the in vitro and in vivo antiprotozoal mechanisms behind the use of HIVPIs.
These studies have been supported by the urgent need to discover novel active compounds able
to treat incurable parasitoses, including three major neglected diseases: malaria, leishmaniasis and
Chagas’ disease. The present review summarizes the recent advances on the effects of HIV-PIs
against Plasmodium spp., Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma cruzi.
Keywords: Neglected tropical diseases, Plasmodium, Leishmania, Trypanosoma cruzi, Alternative chemotherapy, Antiprotozoal
drugs, HIV peptidase inhibitors.
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