How HIV Can Affect Your Brain


Lorna Collier

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Serious doctor examining brain scan

HIV—the virus that causes AIDS—can cause a variety of neurological complications. These range from cognitive disorders, to psychological illnesses, to other brain-related conditions. Some are directly caused by the virus, while others are triggered by secondary infections related to your weakened immune system. Some can even be caused by the very medications you take to fight HIV.   

Neurological complications usually don’t occur until infection by HIV is advanced. But for people with AIDS, about half will experience some type of brain problem. If you are HIV positive or have AIDS, learning about potential neurological conditions and risk factors will help you take steps to prevent or minimize these complications.

Managing HIV goes beyond just taking your medications—you’ve also got to live a healthy life. These patients and physicians share how you can give your body what it needs to thrive with HIV.

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