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Specify Dementia Symptoms, Please
Apr 25, 2006

Please be specific with regard to apathy, etc...what and how can I learn more about behaviors that will occur in a person with dementia, forgetfulness, apathy, also if the cd4 count does not rise will dementia get better at what count, say we are at 8 will it be better at say 35 or 50 or what makes the difference?

Response from Dr. Horwath

Apathy is a non-specific symptom of HIV-associated dementia. It sometimes occurs in combination with slowing of thinking, slowing of ability to carry out tasks (especially complex tasks requiring significant organizing, prioritizing,etc.), and short-term memory impairment.

HIV-associated dementia is not directly correlated with CD4 count. Improvement in CD4 count, especially over a small range like from 8 to 50, does not necessarily mean improvement in dementia. Dementia symptoms are more closely related to viral load. Persons who go from very high viral loads to an undetectable viral load are more likely to see an improvement in dementia symptoms, but even this is not a perfect correlation. Improvement in dementia symptoms is multifactorial. This means that improvement is related to many factors. In addition to an undetectable viral load, other factors may include change in certain medications, improved nutrition, stopping of alcohol and drug abuse, improved rest, improved general health (eg. treatment of any infections or other illnesses like diabetes, anemia, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary diseases), and treatment of other neuropsychiatric illnesses, like depression.



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