AIDS Dementia Complex

AIDS dementia complex (ADC) can occur in people with AIDS. ADC results in changes in multiple neurologic areas: ADC is a common nervous system complication of late-stage HIV infection.

  • Causes

    It is not clearly understood how HIV infection causes ADC.

  • Definition


    AIDS dementia complex (ADC) can occur in people with
    AIDS. ADC results in changes in multiple neurologic areas:

    • 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

    ADC is a common nervous system complication of late-stage HIV infection.

    Immune System
    Immune system white blood cell
    HIV destroys white blood cells vital to the immune system.
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Tests may include:

    • HIV test
    • Mental status/neurological exam
    • MRI scan
      or
      CT scan
    • Lumbar puncture
      to check cerebrospinal fluid in the spinal cord and brain
    • Electroencephalogram
      (EEG) to check the brain's electrical activity

  • Prevention

    ADC occurs in people with HIV. Ways to help reduce your chance of getting HIV include:


    • 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.
    • Avoid having transfusions of blood products that have not been screened.

    • 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 lis, such as razors or toothbrushes.
      • Carefully handle and properly dispose of needles used for medication.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance of having ADC include:

    • Untreated HIV infection
    • Late-stage AIDS

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms usually develop slowly and worsen over time. They can be grouped into stages:

  • Treatment

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include: