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Hi, I am a thirty two years old woman. I am HIV positive. When I found out about this I was terribly shocked. My whole life changed. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. All I ever did was thought about the problem that I have. Somehow I managed to pull myself together and continue with my life. However, recently I have heard something about HIV associated dementia. My mother suffered from dementia and we had to put her in home for old people. I wouldn't want to go trough that as well. So, could you tell me something about HIV and dementia?

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Hi, there really is HIV associated dementia. It usually occurs in the last stages of HIV infection. Also it can appear if HIV is not treated regularly and correctly. How does HIV cause dementia is not completely known. There are only speculations about the way HIV affects the brain. Doctors suspect that when HIV enters the brain, immune cells start to overact. The high levels of immune cells products affect not only the virus, but neurons as well. It means that the brain cells are being attacked by the virus toxins and our own defense mechanisms at the same time. As a result, growth and survival of brain cells are jeopardized. Because of the deterioration of the brain cells, the person affected with HIV starts to have problems with memory.
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