Being Alive 1995 Feb 5: 6
The incidence of AIDS Dementia Complex is something less than
10%. Nonetheless, a majority of people with late stage AIDS
will manifest some symptoms. AIDS Dementia Complex was first
described in 1986 and was added to the CDC's list of
AIDS-defining conditions. Only a small number receive an AIDS
diagnosis because of dementia. In 1990, for instance, just
2.7% of AIDS cases were defined because of AIDS Dementia.
Early symptoms of AIDS Dementia can be confused with general
manifestations of clinical depression. These include apathy,
loss of interest in one's surroundings and the like. Later
symptoms involve cognitive and motor problems. Memory loss,
as well as mobility problems, come into the picture.
Diagnosing AIDS Dementia Complex is difficult. CAT scans are
usually used, though these could be normal. Neuropsychiatric
testing is required. Various other scans may also be called
for. Treatment is usually individualized; there is no one
accepted way to treat all cases. AZT in high doses is usually
used, although the drug appears to help more with motor
problems and less with cognitive problems. Other drugs to
reduce brain inflammation may also be tried. Finally, there
is symptomatic treatment; drugs are used to treat the
specific symptoms of the individual.