HIV and AIDS are commonly discussed as possible causes of peripheral neuropathy, but are these the only infective causes? The truth is that multiple infections have been linked to neuropathy including HIV/AIDS, Lyme Disease, Shingles and Septicemia. Although other infections may cause a neuropathy, these are the most common causes noted in the literature.
The great news about these causes of peripheral neuropathy is that if the infection can be improved or resolved, the neuropathy usually follows suit. Resolving a septiciemia will resolve the neuropathy. Therefore, any patient with peripheral neuropathy should be evaluated to determine if infection may be the cause or partial cause of the encountered neuropathy. That information may provide a simple method to improve or resolve the neuropathy.
In cases like HIV, where resolution is not currently possible, other causes of peripheral neuropathy should also be considered. I have long advocated that neuropathy and diabetes in the same patient doesn't mean one is the cause of the other. This is also true for HIV. All possible causes should be evaluated and treated if possible, because that will possibly provide additional treatment options.
We are seeing improvement and resolution of neuropathy in patients, but only when a cause is determined and treated. Infectious neuropathy is another possible cause that must be considered.