Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.


Quick Links
Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)

for Veterans and the Public

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)

This disease is caused by a virus called the JC (John Cunningham) virus. This is a common virus and most people probably are infected early in life. However, in people with HIV the virus can cause serious disease. The virus is possibly spread through sexual contact, or from mother to child.

Symptoms can include:

  • difficulty in speaking
  • difficulty in walking
  • weakness in arms or legs
  • personality changes
  • seizures
  • changes in vision
  • headache
  • shaky hands

There is no specific treatment for PML, but HIV therapy can reverse the symptoms and keep the JC virus under control. People with PML should have a good support system. Friends, roommates, or family members can help make sure that HIV medications are taken on time, in the right combination, and at the right dose. The disease is extremely serious and can lead to death.