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Neurocognitive deficits in HIV-positive patients-two case reports: Revising current AANTF guidelines in view of recent revelation of new neurocognitive symptoms

Author(s): Vahia V | Bhojraj Tejas | Creado Dean

Journal: Indian Journal of Psychiatry
ISSN 0019-5545

Volume: 48;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 193;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: Neurocognitive deficit (NCD) | HIV testing | AANTF (American Academy of Neurology Task Force) guidelines

Certain organic antecedents such as fever, weight loss, diarrhoea and systemic infections often present with neurocognitive deficits (NCDs). However, routine HIV screening is not done in such cases. HIV can present with psychiatric and neurocognitive symptoms as highlighted in the two cases given below. Case 1, a housewife, had been exhibiting altered behaviour following a low-grade fever over the past 3 weeks, associated with muttering to self, talking irrelevantly, would wander away from home, had decreased sleep, loss of appetite, and neglected self-care. She had displayed impulsivity by jumping into a well. On admission, the patient was mute, lethargic and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tested positive for cryptococcus. Her human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status was positive. Case 2, a housewife, presented with one-month history of muttering to self, increased irritability, aggressive on minimal provocation, decreased sleep, loss of appetite, and suspiciousness towards family members. On provisional diagnosis of schizophrenia, the patient was started on low-dose antipsychotic drugs, which showed minimal improvement. There was a distinct slowness in her movements and she progressively lost weight. Routine investigations were normal but her HIV status was positive. It has recently come to light that HIV infection also presents with subtle manifestations of the central nervous system (CNS), which are distinct from NCD and, if harnessed, could enhance diagnostic sensitivity and reduce the ′asymptomatic period′. Hence HIV testing is recommended in such cases.
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