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What is peripheral Neuropathy?

Nov 21, 1997

What is peripheral neuropathy? When does it occur as a symptom of HIV/AIDS?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. By definition, Peripheral Neuropathy is "a disorder of the nerves, usually involving the hands, feet, arms, and legs. Symptoms may include numbness, a tingling or burning sensation, sharp pain, weakness, and abnormal reflexes". When this is related to HIV/AIDS, it usually occurs years after infection. This disorder can be related to the disease itself, and can also be a side effect of some antiviral medications. This disorder can also be found in persons without HIV infection. Therefore, having peripheral neuropathy by itself does NOT necessarily indicate HIV infection. ONLY a doctor can diagnose a person with peripheral neuropathy. If you are having any of these symptoms, please see your doctor.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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