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BACKGROUND: Little is known about the etiology, clinical presentation, management, and outcome of central nervous system (CNS) infections in Indonesia, a country with a high burden of infectious diseases and a rising prevalence of HIV. METHODS: We included adult patients with suspected CNS infections at two referral hospitals in a prospective cohort between April 2019 and December 2021. Clinical, laboratory, and radiological assessments were standardized. We recorded initial and final diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes during 6 months of follow-up. RESULTS: Of 1051 patients screened, 793 were diagnosed with a CNS infection. Patients (median age 33 years, 62% male, 38% HIV-infected) presented a median of 14 days (IQR 7-30) after symptom onset, often with altered consciousness (63%), motor deficits (73%), and seizures (21%). Among HIV-uninfected patients, CNS tuberculosis (TB) was most common (60%), while viral (8%) and bacterial (4%) disease were uncommon. Among HIV-infected patients, cerebral toxoplasmosis (41%) was most common, followed by CNS TB (19%), neurosyphilis (15%), and cryptococcal meningitis (10%). A microbiologically confirmed diagnosis was achieved in 25% of cases, and initial diagnoses were revised in 46% of cases. In-hospital mortality was 30%, and at six months, 45% of patients had died, and 12% suffered from severe disability. Six-month mortality was associated with older age, HIV, and severe clinical, radiological and CSF markers at presentation. CONCLUSION: CNS infections in Indonesia are characterized by late presentation, severe disease, frequent HIV coinfection, low microbiological confirmation and high mortality. These findings highlight the need for earlier disease recognition, faster and more accurate diagnosis, and optimized treatment, coupled with wider efforts to improve the uptake of HIV services.

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Adult, CNS infection, Diagnosis, Indonesia, Management, Outcome