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Neurological symptoms caused by opportunistic invections?
Jan 4, 2002

My brother is newly diagnosed HIV positive with a CD4 count of 50. I have noticed that one of his eyes jiggles rapidly and slightly sometimes. As well, several months ago he developed a noticeable tremor in his fingers on one hand and also says he has some numbness (I am not sure which hand the numbness is in). I don't know whether to even tell him about the thing with his eye, which looks exactly like the nystagmus my friend with MS has. Can these symptoms be caused by HIV or by other infections he might be susceptible to? I don't think he has mentioned these things to his doctor, and I don't want to scare him by mentioning them to him if they are not important. Thank you for your help.

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Your brother should see an HIV specialist as soon as possible. He needs a thorough evaluation for disease of the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord). These symptoms are evidence of abnormal brain function, and he needs a CT or MRI brain scan. He also needs combination treatment for his HIV, so he can strenghten his immune system. Whatever is going on in his brain will be better controlled if his immun e system is helping instead of hurting.

So don't worry about scaring your brother-- get him to an experienced physician as soon as you can. If there isn't an HIV specialist immediately available to him, then get him to a neurologist who can at least set things in motion by ordering the right tests. Good luck!

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