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Managing Side Effects of HIV TreatmentManaging Side Effects of HIV Treatment
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PN Cause Determination
Jan 14, 2009

I am a 55/yr. male diagnosed in 2002. CD4's have ranged from 550-1200 but VL initially ran around 10K, and 30K-100K for the past 18 months. Currently my cd4 is 635 and vl is 120K. I have PN in both feet and stiffness in legs especially in the calve area. Can a neurologist determine if this is HIV related vs. something else? I have never been on meds. Should I begin medication in hopes of taking care of this? I remember some numbness/tingling even before my contracting HIV. I can still get around fine and I can go a week or so and have hardly any pain and then it appears again for a few days.

Response from Dr. Henry

HIV can cause a usually fairly symmetric peripheral neuropathy initially involving the toes/feet is some patients though usually more common in persons with lower CD4 counts. A thorough history and physical examination looking for contributing factors and a referral to a neurologist is recommended. If no other factor is found (vascular, metabolic, nerve compression etc) then I would consider empiric Rx for the HIV as a reasonable strategy particularly in light of your now high viral load. KH

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