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HIV associated dementia

HIV associated dementia (HAD), previously referred to as AIDS dementia complex (ADC), corresponds to a neurological clinical syndrome seen in patients with HIV infection. The associated imaging appearance is generally referred to as HIV encephalopathy.

The terms HIV dementia complex, AIDS dementia complex (ADC), HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and HIV encephalopathy (HIE) are being replaced by more clear definitions for the spectrum HIV associated neurocognitive disorder (HANDs). The progressive impairment described as ADC is now referred to as HIV associated dementia (HAD) using the most recent criteria 4,5

The clinical syndrome of HAD comprises of a combination of cognitive, behavioral and motor dysfunction like gait disturbance and tremors . While there is some individual variation, frequent manifestations include: inattention and reduced concentration, apathy and dulling of personality, psychomotor slowing, marked motor slowing and ataxia. 

Imaging findings include:

  • diffuse and symmetric cerebral atrophy, out of proportion in keeping with age of patient 
  • symmetric periventricular and deep white matter hypoattenuation
  • symmetric periventricular and deep white matter T2 hyperintensity with relative sparing of the subcortical white matter and posterior fossa structures
  • confluent or patchy
  • no mass effect
  • no enhancement

May show decreased N acetyl aspartate and increased choline peaks and changes in the glutamate and glutamine levels. 

Severity is related to the patient's viral load, and can regress with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Superimposed infection may lead to fulminant disease. Overall prognosis is not good, generally leading to death in less than a year 5

The term AIDS dementia complex was introduced by Bradford Navia, an American physician, and colleagues in 1986 4. It was replaced by HIV-associated dementia after the publication of Antinori et al in 2007 5,6.

Infections of the central nervous system
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Article information

rID: 7274
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • HIV encephalitis
  • HIV encephalopathy
  • AIDS dementia complex (ADC)
  • HIV associated dementia (HAD)

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