What to Know About HIV Associated Dementia

Caregiver for HIV PatientMore often than now we associate dementia with aging and cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s. However, younger individuals may develop dementia as a result of HIV–most frequently in the later stages of the infection. Renaissance is here to provide exceptional home care services in NYC for patients who suffer from AIDS dementia complex or HIV encephalopathy.

Causes of HIV Associated Dementia

Quite simply put, the HIV virus causes neuronal damage. Dementia may be caused solely by the HIV virus, but in many cases, it is the result of other disorders the patient is susceptible to as a result of the HIV infection. An example would be someone with HIV contracting a secondary infection from viruses, bacteria, or fungi that then cause severe problems to the central nervous system, like cryptococcal meningitis, TB meningitis, toxoplasmosis, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy and central nervous system lymphoma.

HIV Associated Dementia Symptoms

Symptoms of HIV Associated Dementia can be similar to those exhibited by patients suffering from other dementias. They can include:

  • Noticeable decline in cognitive functions, like memory, logic, decision-making, concentration, and problem-solving.
  • Changes in personality, mood, and/or behavior
  • Problems with speech and expression
  • Motor movement problems, such as poor balance and coordination, slower movement
  • Apathy, anxiety, and/or depression

What is the International HIV Dementia Scale?

The International HIV Dementia Scale is a recently developed screening tool for HIV Associated Dementia. The patient is asked to perform certain tests. Points are assigned according to how long it takes for the patient to complete the tests. Here is what the test entails:

  • Test for Motor Speed. The patient is asked to perform a simple movement with the non-dominant hand as quickly as possible. Points are given for however many the patient completes in 5 seconds.
  • Psychomotor Speed. The patient is asked to perform a sequence of three movements with the non-dominant hand as quickly as possible. Points are given for the number of completed sequences in 10 seconds.
  • Memory Recall. The patient is asked to recall 4 words they were asked to remember earlier. Whole points are given for each word recalled. Half points are given if the word is recalled after giving the patient a semantic clue.

The maximum possible score is 12 points. A patient with a score of 10 or below should be evaluated for dementia.

Support for Patients with HIV Associated Dementia

Renaissance has been providing NYC individuals with HIV high-quality home care services for years. Our caregivers are capable, dedicated, and knowledgeable, and able to provide assistance to your loved one suffering from HIV Associated Dementia, right in the comfort of their home.

We invite you to learn more about our services and amenities and the unique C.A.R.E. Standards that our caregivers meet every day. You may also contact us for additional information. Don’t face HIV Associated Dementia alone – Renaissance Home Health Agency is here to help!