What is the prevalence of HIV-associated distal painful sensorimotor polyneuropathy?

Updated: Aug 08, 2019
  • Author: Florian P Thomas, MD, PhD, MA, MS; Chief Editor: Niranjan N Singh, MBBS, MD, DM, FAHS, FAANEM  more...
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Distal painful sensorimotor polyneuropathy may affect up to 35% of people with HIV. [15]  Subclinical forms occur in many more seropositive patients. At autopsy it is found in almost 100% of patients with AIDS. The prevalence of distal painful sensorimotor polyneuropathy continues to rise because of increased life expectancy. [16, 17]  Antiretroviral toxic neuropathy may occur in up to 60% of patients. 

Distal painful sensorimotor polyneuropathy is more prevalent in males than in females and more common in persons older than 50 years. [18] It is rare in children, though one study reported symptoms in up to 28% of HIV-infected children in South Africa. [19]  Childs et al. found that HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy was associated with lower CD4 count and higher viral load. [20]  This association, however, has not been well characterized since the HAART era. Other risk factors include diabetes, height, statin use, d4T exposure, and substance abuse. [17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23]

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