| What caused me to start committing crimes?
Aug 14, 2012
I was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and in 1997 I had full blown aids. I recovered but things got real bad again last year. Up until two years ago I'd been a law abiding citizen most of my life and now I'm facing prison time for first time in my life for numerous burglaries I've committed over the past year. I don't know why I'm doing it. I've always worked for everything I've owned till now. Please help me understand what's gone wrong with my mind.
| Response from Dr. Fawcett
Thanks for writing. Such behaviors are, of course, extremely serious. HIV-related disorders of the central nervous system (which include HIV dementia, HIV encephalopathy, HIV-associated dementia and HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder) can certainly affect mood and behavior, although I don't know to what extent they might explain specific criminal behaviors. Severe forms of these disorders have been greatly reduced with newer medications, but research suggests that one's lowest CD 4 count (nadir) is more predictive than current CD 4 levels. Since you were diagnosed in the 1990s, I would expect that your t-cell count was at one time quite low. Speak with your physician about your concerns. A neurocognitive assessment could help determine the extent to which you might be experiencing one of these disorders.
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