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What is neuropathy?
Jul 13, 2012

I have written you before concerning persistent pelvic/abdomen/groin burning and pain. My right foot falls asleep a lot as does my ring finger and little finger on my left hand--also my right ankle experiences pain and electric-like jolts thru it making it very weak, and I have fallen a couple of times going from sitting to standing position and my right ankle becomes weak and cannot support my weight at times. I have recently had a nerve conductivity test which was positive for neuropathy. What is neuropathy, what are its causes, and how severe does it become? My PCP has told me that both HIV and HIV medications can cause this. Also, my father and 2 of his brothers had Fredreich's Ataxia which is somewhat similar. My HIV labs are good (CD4=800 and VL=50) and I take Isentress and Truvada. I have been set up to begin appts. with a neurologist at the end of September 2012, but what can I expect the outcome to be?

Response from Dr. Henry

Neuropathy is a general term describing damage/abnormalities to peripheral nerves. Peripheral neuropathy due to HIV or HIV drugs almost always is a distal symmetric process first involving toes/feet so the distribution of your symptoms would make typical HIV related peripheral neuropathy unlikely. There are some variants that can be more localized but the risk for HIV related neuropathy is linked to CD4 count so your good CD4 count also makes it unlikely that you are experiencing HIV related peripheral neuropathy (can rarely occur). Your particular HIV regimen has a low-modest risk for associated peripheral neuropathy-again seems unlikely. KH



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