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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

AIDS: Neurological Complications

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What are Neurological Complications of AIDS?
AIDS is primarily an immune system disorder caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but it can also affect the nervous system.

HIV does not appear to directly invade nerve cells but it jeopardizes their health and function, causing symptoms such as confusion, forgetfulness, behavioral changes, headaches, progressive weakness and loss of sensation in the arms and legs, cognitive motor impairment, or damage to the peripheral nerves.

Other complications that can occur as a result of HIV infection or the drugs used to treat it include pain, seizures, shingles, spinal cord problems, lack of coordination, difficult or painful swallowing, anxiety disorder, depression, fever, vision loss, gait disorders, destruction of brain tissue, and coma.

Other AIDS-related nervous system disorders may be caused by certain cancers or by illnesses that would not otherwise affect people with healthy immune systems.


Among the most common neurological complications are:
  • AIDS dementia complex, causing symptoms such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), behavioral changes, and a gradual decline in cognitive function; 
  • central nervous system lymphomas, cancerous tumors that either begin in the brain or result from a cancer that has spread from another site in the body; 
  • cryptococcal meningitis; 
  • cytomegalovirus infections; 
  • herpes virus infections; 
  • neuropathy; 
  • neurosyphilis; 
  • progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML); and 
  • psychological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Is There Any Treatment?
No single treatment can cure the neurological complications of AIDS.  Some disorders require aggressive therapy while others are treated symptomatically.

Medicines range from analgesics sold over the counter (OTC) to antiepileptic drugs, opiates, corticosteroids, and some classes of antidepressants. Other treatments include radiation therapy or chemotherapy to kill or shrink cancerous brain tumors that may be caused by HIV, antifungal or antimalarial drugs to combat certain bacterial infections, and penicillin to treat neurosyphilis.

Aggressive antiretroviral therapy is used to treat AIDS dementia complex, PML, and cytomegalovirus encephalitis.  HAART, or highly active antiretroviral therapy, combines at least three drugs to reduce the amount of virus circulating in the blood and may also delay the start of some infections. 

What is the Prognosis?
The overall prognosis for individuals with AIDS in recent years has improved significantly because of new drugs and treatments. AIDS clinicians often fail to recognize neurological complications of AIDS. Those who suspect they are having neurological complications should be sure to discuss these with their doctor. Read more>> HIV and AIDS: A Pandemic

What Research is Being Done?
Within the Federal government, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), one part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supports research on the neurological consequences of AIDS.  The NINDS works closely with its sister agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which has primary responsibility for research related to HIV and AIDS.

External Links

HIV/AIDS: Understanding HIV/AIDS - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
HIV/AIDS - Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
HIV/AIDS Basics - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV/AIDS Fact Sheets - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Questions and Answers on HIV and AIDS - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Diagnosis/Symptoms
Frequently Asked Questions about HIV and HIV Testing - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV Antibody Test - American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
HIV Testing - Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
HIV/AIDS Policy Fact Sheet: AIDS Testing in the United States - Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
HIV/AIDS - Signs and Symptoms - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS Basics - Testing for HIV/AIDS - Healthy Roads Media.
p24 Antigen Test - American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
Vaccines, Blood & Biologics: Testing for HIV - U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Treatment 
HIV/AIDS - Treatment - Healthy Roads Media.
AIDS Vaccines - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.

Prevention/Screening
Condoms - Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Get Tested for HIV: The Basics - Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
HIV and AIDS: Are You at Risk? - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV Transmission Risk - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV Transmission - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV/AIDS - Prevention - Healthy Roads Media.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Safer Sex Guidelines - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.
Treatment After Exposure to HIV - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Therapy
Alternative and Complementary Therapies - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.

Disease Management
CD4 and CD8 - American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
HIV Resistance Testing - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.
HIV Viral Load - American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
HIV/AIDS - CD4 Count - Healthy Roads Media.

Specific Conditions
Acute HIV Infection - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.

Pictures/Photographs
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Primary Infection - Logical Images.

Videos
Drugs + HIV > Learn the Link - National Institute on Drug Abuse.
HIV/AIDS - CD4 Count - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS Basics - How You Get HIV/AIDS - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS Basics - Prevention of HIV/AIDS - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS - Signs and Symptoms - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS Basics - Testing for HIV/AIDS - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS - Treatment - Healthy Roads Media.
HIV/AIDS - Substance Abuse - Healthy Roads Media.
A Need to Know: The Importance of HIV Testing and Treatment - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anatomy/Physiology
The HIV Life Cycle - AIDSinfo.

Clinical Trials
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, HIV Infections, HIV Infections and Vaccines, HIV Infections and Women, HIV/AIDS Infections and Men, HIV Infections and Heterosexual Men - National Institutes of Health.
HIV/AIDS Network Clinical Trials Units (CTU) and Clinical Research Sites (CRS) - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Participating in a Clinical Trial - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.
What Is an AIDS Clinical Trial? - AIDSinfo.
NIH Clinical Center.

Research
NIAID's HIV/AIDS Research Program - Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
amfAR :: The Foundation for AIDS Research.
Answers about HIV Vaccine Research - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
HIV-Infected Astrocytes Disrupt Blood-Brain Barrier, Contribute to Cognitive Impairment - National Institute of Mental Health.
How HIV Causes AIDS - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Microbicides - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.

Dictionaries/Glossaries
AIDSinfo Glossary - AIDSinfo.
HIV Vaccine Glossary - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Directories
National HIV and STD Testing Resources - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
HIV/AIDS Information: Specialized Information Services - National Library of Medicine.

Organizations
AIDS.gov.
AIDSinfo - Dept. of Health and Human Services.
HIV/AIDS- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Division of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (DAIDS) - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.
National Association of People with AIDS.
National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium.
National Prevention Information Network.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).
AIDSInfo (AIDS Information Service).
Neurologic AIDS Research Consortium.

Statistics
HIV/AIDS Basic Statistics and Surveillance - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Key Facts on Global HIV Epidemic and Progress in 2010 - World Health Organization (WHO).
NCHHSTP Atlas - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State Profiles: HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
NCHHSTP National Profile - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Children
Children and HIV - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.
HIV and AIDS - Nemours Foundation.

Teenagers
Drugs + HIV > Learn the Link - National Institute on Drug Abuse.
HIV and AIDS - Nemours Foundation.
How Do People Get AIDS? - Nemours Foundation.

Men
HIV among Gay and Bisexual Men - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women
HIV and Women FAQs - American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
HIV/AIDS - Dept. of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.
HIV Infection in Women - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Women and HIV - Food and Drug Administration.
HIV/AIDS among Women Who Have Sex with Women - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pregnancy
HIV and Pregnancy - AIDSinfo.
AIDS/HIV - Eunice Kennedy Shriver, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
HIV and Pregnancy - American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Anti-HIV Medications for Use in Pregnancy - AIDSinfo.
Safety of Anti-HIV Medications during Pregnancy - AIDSinfo.
One Test. Two Lives. HIV Testing during Pregnancy - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women Infected with HIV and Their Babies After Birth - AIDSinfo.
Mother-to-Child (Perinatal) HIV Transmission and Prevention - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pregnancy and Childbirth - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Seniors
HIV, AIDS, and Older People - National Institute on Aging.
Older People and HIV - New Mexico AIDS Education and Training Center.

Articles
Scientists see AIDS vaccine within reach after decades (July, 15 2012) - Reuters.
Clue to Why Human Body Can't Fight HIV Discovered (July 12, 2012) - MyHealthNewsDaily Staff | LiveScience.com. 

The article "Aids: Neurological Complications" Prepared by: Office of Communications and Public Liaison, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

NINDS, a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history. 

Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog Disclaimer:
Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog has provided this material for general information and education purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for or to take the place of medical advice. If you have a medical emergency call 9-1-1. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed health care professional. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog. Any mention in the Holistic Lifestyle Community Blog of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product.

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