HIV neurological disorders

What are HIV neurological disorders?

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that damages cells in the immune system. This results in those affected being susceptible to serious illness due to everyday infections and disease.

As more damage is caused a number of neurological complications can occur such as:

  • Dementia
  • Viral infections
  • Fungal and parasitic infections
  • Neuropathy which is damage to the nerves in the body
  • Vacuolar myelopathy in which tiny holes develop in the fibres of the nerves of the spinal cord
  • Psychological conditions such as anxiety or depression
  • Lymphomas which are a type of cancerous tumour

What causes HIV neurological disorders?

HIV neurological disorders develop in the advanced stages of HIV and are a result of damage to the immune system. They can also be caused by the drugs that attempt to control the spread of HIV.

What are the symptoms of HIV neurological disorders?

The symptoms of HIV neurological disorders may include:

  • Forgetfulness or confusion
  • Weakness that gradually gets worse
  • Changes to behaviour
  • Headaches
  • Difficulties with balance and coordination
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of sensation in the limbs
  • Mental health problems

Are you affected by HIV neurological disorders?

If you’re affected by HIV neurological disorders, The Brain Charity can support you.

We are the only charity in the UK to be here for every one of the more than 600 different neurological conditions in existence. Individually, many are rare, but combined, they affect 1 in 6 people.

We provide practical help on all aspects of living with HIV neurological disorders, emotional support such as counselling, phone befriending and group therapy and social activities to people with HIV neurological disorders and their family, friends and carers from all over the UK from our centre in Liverpool.

Looking to talk to someone?

Woman smiling, making eye contact and holding the hand of another woman to comfort her

Phone us

Contact The Brain Charity now

Our friendly Information & Advice Officers are here to help. We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.

0151 298 2999

Looking to talk to someone?

  • Please tell us which neurological condition you are affected by and what you need support with.

Caring for someone with HIV neurological disorders

We support carers, friends and family too

Are you a carer for or relative of someone with HIV neurological disorders? It’s just as important for you to look after your own physical and mental wellbeing too.

The Brain Charity provides free support for carers, friends and family of people with any form of neurological condition, including HIV neurological disorders, from anywhere in the UK.

We also run an additional carers advocacy service for all carers in Liverpool, regardless of which type of condition the person they care for has.

You don’t need to be a formal or registered carer

We can help you even if you don’t view yourself as a formal carer or claim Carer’s Allowance. Find out some of the ways we support carers below.

Other resources

The Brain Charity's library

The Brain Charity’s library has a range of resources on HIV neurological disorders and on many other disability-related issues.

Visit our library to read:

Or search the catalogue online here.

Support groups

Terrence Higgins Trust: My Community Forum

An online forum where those living with HIV can share their experiences with others.



Brain & Spine Foundation Neuro Social

A weekly online support group for anyone affected by a neurological condition to meet others and to give each other support.


Phone: 0808 808 1000


Brain & Spine Foundation Neuro Carers

A monthly online support group that provides an opportunity for carers of those who have a neurological condition to meet others and to give each other support.


Phone: 0808 808 1000


Support groups at The Brain Charity

Are you interested in setting up a support group for HIV neurological disorders, or do you already run one? Email to let us know.

Alternatively, you can check out our list of related support groups here.

Other charities

Positively UK

The Terrence Higgins Trust


Phone: 0808 802 1221

Brain & Spine Foundation