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Memory Loss
May 28, 2012

I have notice increased memory loss. This is very disturbing. What can I do about this. I fear that I will end up not remembering the people who I love and care for which of course is depressing and makes matters worse. How will the memory loss progress? What will happen to me?

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for posting.

There is a growing concern about non-AIDS complications among long-term survivors of HIV, or those who are older and living with HIV. Among these concerns is cognitive (aka neurocognitive) function.

Some studies suggest that memory problems are quite common, though many people are unaware of their symptoms. We recommend using one of a variety of screening tests (including the International HIV Dementia Scale) to evaluate if there is a problem. The European AIDS Clinical Society suggests asking patients with possible neurocognitive impairment (NCI) with three questions:

1) Do you experience frequent memory loss? 2) Do you feel that you're slower when reasoning, planning activities or solving problems? 3) Do you have difficulties paying attention (for example to a conversation , a book or a movie)?

Patients are considered to have an "abnormal" result when answering "yes, definitely" to at least one question. If you answer yes to one of these questions (as you appear to be), then a further workup is warranted.

The prognosis of NCI is variable and depends on the causes- the first steps are to establish a diagnosis and closely evaluate your quality of life and other health issues. There are treatment and management strategies, but the first steps are to understand the problem and the functional situation that you're experiencing.

Good health to you; don't hesitate to write back. BY



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