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Opportunistic InfectionsOpportunistic Infections
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Aug 16, 2000

What exactly it is? I've read its not possible to have neuropathy at early infection but in another study I've read it is an early hiv manifestation. Can it be that early that even at 4-8 months after infection one can experience it? Does it began with a numbness and pain in the leg and then in your hand and then in your feet or what? Really confused and in pain. Is it like a numbness sensation with pain?

Response from Dr. Feinberg

Peripheral neuropathy is more typically associated with advanced HIV disease, but it can happen early as well. It can also be caused by other diseases, including diabetes and exposure to toxins such as lead. It starts in the toes and sole of the foot, because the nerves that go to these parts of the body are the longest and therefore the most vulnerable. If the neuropathy progresses, it may move up the leg and also involve the hands. Symptoms can vary -- it can be predominantly numbness and tingling (like "pins and needles"), or it can be painful. If it occurs only on one side of the body, then it may be due to a problem with a specific nerve, and this is usually not due to HIV, toxins or diabetes. If you have persistent symptoms, then see a doctor for a thorough evaluation.

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