Neurological Manifestations in Patients with HIV Infection in the Era of Combined Antiretroviral Therapy
Neurological disorders are the most debilitating of manifestations seen in patients infected with HIV. The clinical profile of neurological manifestations in HIV patients has undergone a shift in recent years with opportunistic infections being controlled with combination anti-retroviral therapy and the advent of drugs which have higher central nervous system penetrability. The aim of this paper is to study the clinical, investigation profile and various neurological disorders in HIV patients on anti‐retroviral therapy. Fifty HIV patients with neurological manifestations were studied. A complete neurological examination including neurocognitive functioning using Montreal Cognitive Assessment and HIV Dementia scale were assessed. Apart from relevant investigations, CD4 count, cerebrovascular fluid analysis, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain were done whenever required. Neurocognitive disorders formed the largest group with 42% suffering from HIV associated Neurocognitive Disorders. Among them, asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment was seen in 28%; mild neurocognitive disorder in 12%, and 2% had HIV‐associated dementia. Opportunistic infections of the nervous system accounted for 32%, with meningitis being the most common. Four patients had space occupying lesions of central nervous system; four tuberculomas, and one toxoplasmosis. With the advent of highly active retroviral therapy, HIV patients have longer life spans with suppression of viral load leading to decrease in opportunistic infections of the nervous system. Neurocognitive disorders are now the most common neurological dysfunction seen and thus neurocognitive assessment must be done in all patients with HIV.
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