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Dementia Due to HIV Infection (cont.)

Dementia Due to HIV Infection Symptoms

AIDS dementia complex affects behavior, memory, thinking, and movement. At first, symptoms are subtle and may be overlooked, but they gradually become troublesome. The symptoms vary widely from person to person.

Symptoms of early dementia include the following:

  • Reduced productivity at work
  • Poor concentration
  • Mental slowness
  • Difficulty learning new things
  • Changes in behavior
  • Decreased libido
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Word-finding difficulty
  • Apathy (indifference)
  • Withdrawal from hobbies or social activities
  • Depression

Symptoms of worsening dementia include the following:

  • Speech problems
  • Balance problems
  • Clumsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Loss of bladder control (and occasionally bowel control)

Other, rarer symptoms include the following:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Psychosis - Severe mental and behavioral disorder, with features such as extreme agitation, loss of contact with reality, inability to respond appropriately to the environment, hallucinations, delusions
  • Mania - Extreme restlessness, hyperactivity, very rapid speech, poor judgment
  • Seizures

Without HAART, these symptoms gradually worsen. They can lead to a vegetative state, in which the person has minimal awareness of his or her surroundings and is incapable of interacting.

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