What are the CNS complications of HIV infection in children?

Updated: Apr 12, 2018
  • Author: Regina Krel, MD; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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The manifestations of AIDS and its neurologic complications differ in children, whose immune and nervous systems are infected at an immature stage, whether in utero, during delivery, or postpartum. CNS complications tend to progress more rapidly in children, probably because of the inability of their immune systems to mount an appropriate T-cell, B-cell, or cytokine response to the infection.

Neurologic involvement in HIV infection is more frequent in children than in adults. It may take the form of a loss of previously acquired intellectual and motor milestones or of developmental delay. Opportunistic infections due to reactivation of dormant organisms are unusual, as children may not have been exposed yet to the responsible organisms. Distinguishing features include blood vessel calcification in the basal ganglia, large necrotizing cortical and subcortical lesions, microcephaly, and infection of astrocytes.

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