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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)
- Cognition—the ability to understand, process, and remember information
- Behavior—difficulty performing daily tasks
- Emotions—may have personality changes and depression
- Motor coordination—the ability to coordinate muscles and movement
|HIV destroys white blood cells vital to the immune system.|
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- Untreated HIV infection
- Late-stage AIDS
Stage 1 (Mild)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty remembering details, such as phone numbers, appointments, or tracking daily activities
- Slowed thinking
- Longer time needed to complete complicated tasks
- Unsteady walking, tremor, or difficulty keeping balance
- Poor hand function
- Change in handwriting
Stage 2 (Moderate)
- More focus and attention needed
- Slow responses
- Frequently dropping objects
- Feelings of indifference
- Slowness or difficulty with normal activities, such as eating or writing
Stages 3 and 4 (Severe and End Stage)
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Abnormal gait, making walking more difficult
- Withdrawing from life
- Severe mental disorders, such as psychosis or mania
- Unable to leave bed
- Blood tests, such as an HIV test
- Lumbar puncture
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Mood stabilizers
- Medications to prevent seizures
- When you have sex, use a male latex condom.
- Limit your number of sexual partners.
- Avoid sexual partners who are HIV-infected.
- Do not share needles for drug injection.
If you are a healthcare worker:
- Wear appropriate gloves and facial masks during all procedures.
- Carefully handle and properly dispose of needles.
- Carefully follow universal precautions.
If you live in a household with someone who has HIV:
- Wear appropriate gloves if handling HIV-infected bodily fluids.
- Cover your cuts and sores with bandages. Also cover cuts and sores on the person with HIV.
- Do not share any personal hygiene items, such as razors or toothbrushes.
- Carefully handle and properly dispose of needles used for medication.
AIDS.gov—U.S. Department of Health and Human Services http://www.aids.gov
The Foundation for AIDS Research http://www.amfar.org
AIDS Committee of Toronto http://www.actoronto.org
Canadian AIDS Society http://www.cdnaids.ca
AIDS dementia complex. University of California at San Francisco website. Available at: http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/InSite?page=id-01-08. Accessed August 18, 2014.
Luo X, Carlson KA, et al. Macrophage proteomic fingerprinting predicts HIV-1-associated cognitive impairment. Neurology. 2003;60:1931-1937.
Meehan RA, Brush JA. An overview of AIDS dementia complex. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2001;16:225-229.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 08/2014
- Update Date: 08/18/2014