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TROUBLED PRETEEN
Aug 31, 2005

I have a question regarding what the hiv virus does to your mental state? I am not an ignorant nor nieve person, but I just dont know what else could be the problem. I have an 11 year old brother living with HIV. We are not sure how he contracted it, but we have 2 theories. My mother had AIDS, she has since passes away, so he either contracted it while in her womb or while she breast fed him. She was not aware that she had AIDS. Now this brings me to my brother. He has extreme behavior problems ever since he was a child. He is extremely bright, but when it comes to him obeying or behaving he is bad. He always gets into trouble with the neighbors and my grandmother who now raises him, he shows no remorse for anything. He can careless about what he does to hurt people and I strongly believe that within a couple of years he will have run ins with the law. Now I know that alot of kids have behavior problems and it would be silly to blame the virus. But can it? Does it affect you mentally? Do the medications have anything to do with it? I would really like to learn more about the virus and if it could possibly create problems with your reasoning or mental state. I would like to add that his environment and his upbrining have nothing to do with it because we were all raised the same (as far as our family goes).

Response from Dr. Horwath

HIV can cause mental and neurological problems. In children, the most common problem associated with HIV infection from birth is delayed development. Behavior problems such as you describe are usually not associated with HIV infection. But your brother should have an evaluation by a good child psychiatrist or psychiatric clinic. He may have some other treatable condition that is contributing to his behavior. For example, depression, anxiety, ADHD or other psychiatric disorders often present in children as behavior problems. He should be evaluated for these and other conditions.



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