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AIDS Dementia Complex
(ADC; AIDS Encephalopathy; AIDS-related Dementia; ARD; HIV-associated Dementia Complex; HIV Encephalopathy; HIV Associated Encephalopathy (HAE), HIV associated Cognitive/Motor Complex; HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder)
AIDS dementia complex (ADC) is a loss in mental skills in people with late-stage AIDS. It can affect thinking, reasoning, learning, understanding, and moving. This causes problems with day-to-day tasks.
|HIV destroys white blood cells vital to the immune system.|
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The risk is higher in people with HIV infection who do not get treated. It is also higher in people with late-stage AIDS.
Problems start slowly and get worse over time. They may be:
- Problems with focus
- Slowed thinking
- Problems walking
- Weak muscles
- Problems speaking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Personality changes
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Mental health and neurological exams may be done.
Your blood may be tested. A lumbar puncture may be done to test the fluid around your brain and spinal cord.
Images may be taken. This can be done with:
AIDS cannot be cured. Symptoms may be managed with:
Antiretroviral drugs are used to lower the amount of the virus in the body. More than 1 may be used.
Other medicines may also be used to manage problems. These may be:
AIDS—U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The Foundation for AIDS Research
AIDS Committee of Toronto
Canadian AIDS Society
HIV and dementia. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hiv-and-aids/hiv-and-dementia. Accessed October 16, 2019.
Nicholas MK, Collins J, et al. AIDS. Youmans & Winns Neurological Surgery, 7th Edition. Elsevier. 2016.
Overview of HIV infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/overview-of-hiv-infection. Updated June 6, 2019. Accessed October 16, 2019.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 09/2019
- Update Date: 06/10/2020