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Paraparesis in a patient with advanced HIV infection: a diagnostic conundrum


In patients with HIV infection, lower limb weakness is a result of the pathological involvement of the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nervous system. The pathological process can be opportunistic infections, nutrient deficiencies, neoplastic infiltration or HIV itself. Here, we present the case of a 50-year-old manual labourer who presented with gradually progressive lower limb weakness, sensory disturbances, impotence and urinary urgency. He was diagnosed with HIV during evaluation. Based on the presentation and other supportive laboratory and radiological evidence, the following differentials were considered: vacuolar myelopathy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myeloradiculopathy. The patient was initiated on antiretroviral therapy, and he showed significant improvement of symptoms on follow-up. We report this case to discuss the diagnostic puzzle.

  • HIV / AIDS
  • tropical medicine (infectious disease)
  • motor neurone disease
  • infection (neurology)
  • spinal cord

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