HIV and delirium
Jul 24, 2005
In the last couple weeks, my family member has become increasingly confused, manic, hostile and generally out of her mind. This person was admitted to a hospital and doctors have told us she is HIV positive. The doctors have attributed her mental incapacity to the HIV. I haven't heard of anything like this before. Is it possible for HIV to cause such severe mental problems? Thanks.
Response from Dr. Horwath
Yes, HIV absolutely can cause mental problems as severe as this. In patients with advanced AIDS (very high viral loads and low T cells)delirium, dementia, mania and psychotic symptoms are not uncommon complications. HIV can affect the brain in a number of ways, both directly and indirectly. The direct effects of HIV are most commonly a gradually worsening form of dementia, sometimes associated with manic or psychotic symptoms. The indirect effects often are caused by medical complications, such as opportunistic infections or metabolic disturbances that can lead to delirium.
In order to understand what's happening with your family member, you'll need to get some more specific information as to her medical condition.
I hope things improve with your relative.
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