A review of movement disorders in persons living with HIV



The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes movement disorders in persons living with HIV (PLH).

Objectives and methods

We conducted a systematic review on the spectrum of movement disorders in PLH using standard terms for each of the phenomenologies and HIV.


Movement disorders in PLH were commonly attributed to opportunistic infections (OI), dopamine receptor blockade reactions, HIV-associated dementia (HAD), presented during seroconversion, developed due to drug reactions or antiretroviral therapy (ART) itself and lastly, movement disorders occurred as a consequence of the HIV-virus. Parkinsonism in ART na├»ve PLH was associated with shorter survival, however when Parkinsonism presented in PLH on ART, the syndrome was indistinguishable from Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and responded to therapy. Tremor was often postural due to HAD, drugs or OI. Generalized chorea was most frequent in HIV encephalopathy and toxoplasmosis gondii caused most cases of hemichorea. Ataxia was strongly associated with JCV infection, ART efavirenz toxicity or due to HIV itself. Dystonia was reported in HAD, secondary to drugs and atypical facial dystonias. Both cortical/subcortical and segmental/spinal origin myoclonus were noted mainly associated with HAD. In patients with HIV related opsoclonus-myoclonus-ataxia-syndrome, seroconversion illness was the commonest cause of followed by IRIS and CSF HIV viral escape phenomenon.


Aetiology of movement disorders in PLH depend on the treatment state. Untreated, PLH are prone to develop OI and HAD and movement disorders. However, as the number of PLH on ART increase and survive longer, the frequency of ART and non-AIDS related complications are likely to increase.


Amod F, Holla VV, Ojha R, Pandey S, Yadav R, Pal PK




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-morbidities
    • Other


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