4woman Ladies

AIDS Dementia Complex (ADC)

Back to HIV/AIDS page

ADC (AIDS dementia complex), or mental decline, happens later in the course of AIDS. AIDS can affect the brain and cause poor memory; short attention span; trouble moving, speaking, or thinking; less alertness; loss of interest in things; depression; loss of bladder and bowel control; and wide mood swings. Mental problems can make it hard to follow the planned routines for care and make it difficult to protect the person with AIDS from infections. ADC is treated with AIDS drugs, like AZT. Other drugs, like anti-depressants can be taken to treat the symptoms of ADC. If the person you are caring for has ADC, you can help:

  • Keep important things in the same place all the time — a place that is easy to reach and easy to see.
  • If you need to, remind the person you are caring for where they are and who you are.
  • Put a clock and a calendar where the person you are caring for can see them. Mark off the days on the calendar. Write in what will happen each day.
  • Put up pictures of people who might be in the house with their names on the pictures where the person with AIDS can see them.
  • Speak in short, simple sentences.
  • Remove dangerous objects from reach.
  • Keep the sound from TVs, radios, and other noises down so the person doesn't get confused by unexpected sounds.
  • Talk to a health care worker who deals with people with dementia about how to handle problems.
Back to HIV/AIDS page