Venereal diseases (i.e., sexually transmitted diseases or STDs) can cause serious acquired brain injuries (ABIs) in some cases. Not every STD can affect the brain and cause damage, and many can only cause these complications in rare cases.
In general, two groups are at-risk for a venereal disease acquired brain injury:
- The person who suffers from the STD.
- A child born to a mother with the STD.
Depending on the diagnosis, there are often steps patients can take to prevent an ABI or to prevent STD-related complications during childbirth.
Which Venereal Diseases Can Cause ABIs?
Not every sexually transmitted disease affects the body the same way. Some affect your fertility or sexual functioning but do not typically cause issues with the brain or spinal cord. Others can affect the brain and the way it functions. These include:
While herpes itself does not cause brain injuries, it is a common cause of encephalitis in both newborn babies and adults. Doctors treat encephalitis with antiviral medication but getting treatment promptly is key. Severe brain damage can occur in only a few hours or days, and treatment reduces the risk.
Pregnant mothers with herpes may need to take preventative medication throughout their pregnancy to prevent an outbreak. When a mother has a herpes outbreak during labor, the doctor may recommend a Cesarean section to reduce the risk of passing the infection to the baby. Complications of herpes can be life-threatening to newborns.
HIV and AIDS
Untreated HIV and AIDS can lead to neurocognitive complications in a number of ways. Modern treatments reduce the risk and help patients live a longer, healthier life. However, even when treated, some people experience slight swelling of the brain because of HIV complications.
There are medications available to help prevent passing HIV and AIDS to children during pregnancy and childbirth.
Perhaps the most notorious venereal disease to cause brain injuries is syphilis. Today, this is rare. More people get an early diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. This greatly reduces the risk of the disease progressing to this point.
Symptoms of an Acquired Brain Injury
Common symptoms of brain injuries, including those caused by STDs, are:
- Severe fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
- Problems with mobility and dexterity
- Loss of speech
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Disorientation and confusion
- Poor concentration and focus
- Delayed response time
- Problems with memory
- Coordination and balance issues
- Double vision
- Loss of sense of smell
- Deafness or ringing in the ears
- Emotional and behavioral changes
Treatment and Rehabilitation of an ABI from a Venereal Disease
While it may be possible to recover some abilities after a brain injury from encephalitis, it is more likely that patients learn to adapt to new impairments. For this reason, it is imperative that patients and doctors take the necessary actions to prevent moderate or severe brain injuries. To this end, treating and stabilizing the STD or related infection as soon as possible is often the primary concern.
Getting a diagnosis quickly and beginning antivirals, antibiotics, or other treatment can stop the infection and brain damage. Patients who get care soon after their symptoms begin have better outcomes in most cases.
Once the patient recovers enough, a team of specialists will step in to provide rehabilitation and therapy. This can help them regain strength and relearn skills. Therapies may include:
- Physical therapy
- Cognitive therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
Pursuing Compensation for a Venereal Disease ABI
Because of the importance of a quick and accurate diagnosis and treatment, a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis may cause you or your child to suffer significant brain injuries. If this happened to you, you have the right to pursue compensation. Doctors have to follow certain protocols, run specific tests, and provide effective treatments. Any deviation from this protocol could support a viable civil case.
If your doctor failed to diagnose your condition and you believe this led to a more severe brain injury, a brain injury lawyer can help you go after the compensation you deserve. Let the personal injury team from Newsome | Melton review your case for free. Our team has fought for our clients’ rights for more than 20 years. We know what it takes to win a brain injury case and can help you pursue a medical malpractice payout.
Call our team today to get started with your free consultation: (800) 917-5888.