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Peripheral neuropathy
Dec 26, 2002

Doc. Luzuriaga,

How comon is peripheral neuropathy within the first few years of infection, say 1-4 years (percent wise)? Is it qite common or would you contribute it to some other illness? I have read many times that PN is most common in more advanced HIV or in the AIDS phase of the disease, how true is this?

Response from Dr. Luzuriaga

Peripheral neuropathy is fairly commonly seen in HIV positive people (up to 30% by some estimates). It is an inflammatory condition of the peripheral nerves (i.e., all parts of the nervous system outside of the head and spinal cord). Peripheral neuropathy has several possible causes and can be seen at all stages of HIV infection. The inflammation can be due to an infection (most commonly, HIV itself or another virus such as cytomegalovirus). Peripheral neuropathy is also a fairly common side effect of some antiretroviral drugs (e.g., didanosine, stavudine, ddC) or medications used for opportunistic infections. More information on peripheral neuropathy is available on this web site.

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