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Aids related Dementia?
May 29, 2010

I am wondering if maybe Im showing signs of dementia. I forget stuff all the time, I still remember what day it is, month and who is president. However Ive noticed when I watch things on tv or anything for that matter it seems as If I am just viewing the world and not participating, like the world is going by and Im just watching it go. I was hospitalized with Crytococcal menengitis and had dementia when I was in the hospitalie, I thought Ronald regan was president, I thought I was in california when i was in North Carolina. This was 5 years ago, Im 47 now and have noticed a decrease in my attention span, more and more compulsive behavior, handwashing, checking locks, paranoid about paying bills on time and hoping nobody "Finds Out" Ive been on SSDI for 3 years and realize that having Aids is a lifelong battle. I know some people function better than others and as of now my health is still ok, I have steady weightsince the hospital...I was down to 159 and now back to 215 my viral is 0 and cd4 522. I know these things but my focus is rediculous....Im sure if someone were to look at me they cant see the change but I can, I find myself staring off into space for no reason...knowing that at least I have an income...I go for walks but still feels insane even when Im doing it....Ive been doing online testing to try and help with my cognitive skills and they seem to be working somewhat. Im wondering if this kind of thinking is possibly the onset of ADC or am I just having a difficult time. Im smart enough to know something is not right especially since I completed a 4 year technical school just before I got sick...Im wondering if maybe Im just becoming too obsessed with my HIV or is it really dementia?...

Response from Mr. Vergel

The CHARTER study found that those with low CD4 cells in the past tend to have more cognitive dysfunction, even after their CD4 cells go up and their viral load gets controlled. You have a history of crypto induced dementia in the past, so I would be seeing a neurologist and/or psychiatrist if I was you. I think some neurologic testing and assessment would be good for you right now. Also, I am wondering if you have a good support system and if you are socializing with people (isolation is not good for our minds).

Some physicians are prescribing antidepressants, attention-deficit drugs, and others for obsessive compulsiveness, lack of focus, excessive worrying/anxiety, and memory loss. Are you taking or have you tried any of such medications?

It seems to me that you are highly intelligent and are searching for answers on something that you obviously know "does not feel right".I truly hope you keep us updated, specially after you talk to your doctor to get you referred to a specialist. You are young and healthy with a life ahead of you. Sometimes all it takes is for us to be aware that we need help and seek it proactively, which is what you are doing right now.

I am sure you have done a lot of reading on the subject, but here is a web article that you may want to check out: http://www.aids-ed.org/aetc?page=cm-706_dementia

Please email me to let me know how you are doing, ok?

Nelson



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