A woman has been diagnosed with HIV after suffering from ongoing headaches, fever and issues walking.
The 53-year-old, originally from West Africa, was taken to hospital after two months of “progressive headache, gait instability, and weight loss”, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital noted her temperature was 36 degrees. She had lost 15kg.
Dr Geoffrey Gottlieb noted she had been diagnosed with HIV 13 years prior “and was treated with an unknown ART regimen, and then several years later, testing revealed an error and ART (antiretroviral therapy) was discontinued”.
He added doctors needed to determine her “confusing” test results for HIV.
Doctors noted she didn’t have cancer, smoke tobacco or drink alcohol. It’s also possible she did have HIV-1 but was an “elite controller” or “a person who has natural control of HIV infection without ART but with slow clinical progression”.
Dr Ramon Gonzalez, who studied her MRI, wrote the woman had a lesion in her brain “2cm by 1.8 cm by 1.7 cm”.
She was diagnosed with HIV-2, which was prevalent in West Africa in the 1980s. Doctors said the woman had been a resident of the US for more than 20 years though.
The woman was also diagnosed with cerebral toxoplasmosis which is caused by a parasite known as toxoplasmosis gondii.
It’s known to affect people with HIV or AIDS.
The parasite can be found in uncooked meat or contaminated drinking water and was blamed for the lesion in the woman’s brain.
She was given antiparasitic medication and medicine for her HIV diagnosis.
Dr Eric Rosenberg wrote on leaving the hospital she has “moderate improvement of her subjective weakness, confusion, and gait instability”.
The headaches were also gone and in six months a follow-up found the lesion in her brain had reduced in size.
“A discussion with the patient’s previous health care provider revealed that the patient had been counselled to stop ART approximately eight years earlier,” researchers wrote.
“In the context of a positive HIV screening test and a negative HIV-1 viral load test, the provider incorrectly interpreted the initial test results as false positive.”
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