Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults frequently evidence both neurocognitive and psychiatric dysfunction. It was hypothesized that apathy and irritability, but not anxiety and depression, are related to HIV effects on frontal–subcortical systems. This hypothesis was evaluated by determining the degree to which these psychiatric features are associated with neurocognitive functioning that is dependent upon frontal–subcortical circuitry and, therefore, thought to be sensitive to the central nervous system effects of HIV. Rating scales assessing irritability, apathy, depression, and anxiety and a dual-task paradigm were administered to 189 HIV-seropositive (HIV+) and 53 HIV-seronegative participants. Deficits in dual-task performance and greater anxiety, depression, apathy, and irritability were observed in HIV+ participants. Simultaneous multivariate regression and communality analyses revealed that only apathy and irritability were associated with dual-task performance in HIV+ participants. Thus, these findings suggest that apathy and irritability, but not depression and anxiety, are likely associated with the effects of HIV on frontal–subcortical circuitry.
Human immunodeficiency virus; Apathy; Irritability; Depression; Anxiety; Cognition
Sexual dysfunctions in HIV-positive men are associated with an increase in risky sexual behavior and decreased adherence to antiretroviral drug regimens. Because of these important public health issues, we reviewed the literature on the pathophysiology, associated factors and clinical management of sexual dysfunction in HIV-positive men. The goal was to investigate the current research on these issues. Literature searches were performed in June 2011 on PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycInfo databases with the keywords “AIDS” and “sexual dysfunction” and “HIV” and “sexual dysfunction”, resulting in 54 papers. Several researchers have investigated the factors associated with sexual dysfunction in HIV-positive men. The association between sexual dysfunction and antiretroviral drugs, particularly protease inhibitors, has been reported in many studies. The lack of standardized measures in many studies and the varying study designs are the main reasons that explain the controversial results. Despite some important findings, the pathophysiology of sexual dysfunction in the HAART era still not completely understood. Clinical trials of testosterone replacement therapy have shown the treatment to be beneficial to the improvement of sexual dysfunctions related to hypogonadism. However, there are not enough psychological intervention studies to make conclusions regarding the therapeutic effects of psychotherapy.
Due to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), HIV-1 infection has evolved from a lethal to a chronic disease. As such, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) has become an important outcome variable. The purpose of this study was to identify socio-economic, behavioural, (neuro)psychological and clinical determinants of HRQoL among people living with HIV (PLHIV).
This study was conducted between 1 January and 31 December 2012 at the AIDS Reference Centre of Ghent University Hospital, a tertiary care referral centre in Belgium. Validated self-report questionnaires were administered to collect socio-demographic data, to assess HRQoL (Medical Outcomes Study-HIV), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-II) and adherence to HAART (Short Medication Adherence Questionnaire) and to screen for neurocognitive dysfunction.
A total of 237 people participated, among whom 187 (78.9%) were male. Mean age was 45.8±10.7 years and 144 (63.7%, 144/226) participants were homosexual. Median physical and mental health score (PHS, MHS) were 55.6 (IQR 48.2–60.6) and 52.0 (IQR 44.2–57.9), respectively. Multivariable regression analysis revealed that incapacity to work, depressive symptoms, neurocognitive complaints (NCCs), dissatisfaction with the patient–physician relationship and non-adherence were all negatively associated with HRQoL.
Socio-economic (work status), behavioural (adherence) and (neuro)psychological (depressive symptoms, NCCs) determinants independently impact HRQoL among this cohort of PLHIV. Clinical parameters (viral load, CD4 cell count) were not independently associated with HRQoL.
HIV; AIDS; quality of life; MOS-HIV; psychosocial; outcome
To determine factors associated with baseline neurocognitive performance in HIV-infected participants enrolled in the Strategies for Management of Antiretroviral Therapy (SMART) neurology substudy.
Participants from Australia, North America, Brazil, and Thailand were administered a 5-test neurocognitive battery. Z scores and the neurocognitive performance outcome measure, the quantitative neurocognitive performance z score (QNPZ-5), were calculated using US norms. Neurocognitive impairment was defined as z scores <−2 in two or more cognitive domains. Associations of test scores, the QNPZ-5, and impairment with baseline factors including demographics and risk factors for HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) were determined in multiple regression.
The 292 participants had a median CD4 cell count of 536 cells/mm3, 88% had an HIV viral load ≤400 copies/mL, and 92% were taking antiretrovirals. Demographics, HIV, and clinical factors differed between locations. The mean QNPZ-5 score was −0.72; 14% of participants had neurocognitive impairment. For most tests, scores and z scores differed significantly between locations, with and without adjustment for age, sex, education, and race. Prior CVD was associated with neurocognitive impairment. Prior CVD, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertension were associated with poorer neurocognitive performance but conventional HAD risk factors and the CNS penetration effectiveness rank of antiretroviral regimens were not.
In this HIV-positive population with high CD4 cell counts, neurocognitive impairment was associated with prior CVD. Lower neurocognitive performance was associated with prior CVD, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia, but not conventional HAD risk factors. The contribution of CVD and cardiovascular risk factors to the neurocognition of HIV-positive populations warrants further investigation.
= Alzheimer disease;
= antiretroviral therapy;
= blood pressure;
= Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale;
= Color Trails;
= cardiovascular disease;
= Finger Tapping Test;
= Grooved Pegboard;
= HIV-associated dementia;
= neurocognitive impairment;
= quantitative neurocognitive performance z score;
= Strategies for Management of Antiretroviral Therapy;
= Timed Gait.
Prior studies have shown improved neurocognition with initiation of antiretroviral treatment (ART) in HIV. We hypothesized that stopping ART would be associated with poorer neurocognitive function.
Neurocognitive function was assessed as part of ACTG 5170, a multicenter, prospective observational study of HIV-infected subjects who elected to discontinue ART. Eligible subjects had CD4 count >350 cells/mm3, had HIV RNA viral load <55,000 cp/mL, and were on ART (≥2 drugs) for ≥6 months. Subjects stopped ART at study entry and were followed for 96 weeks with a neurocognitive examination.
A total of 167 subjects enrolled with a median nadir CD4 of 436 cells/mm3 and 4.5 median years on ART. Significant improvements in mean neuropsychological scores of 0.22, 0.39, 0.53, and 0.74 were found at weeks 24, 48, 72, and 96 (all p < 0.001). In the 46 subjects who restarted ART prior to week 96, no significant changes in neurocognitive function were observed.
Subjects with preserved immune function found that neurocognition improved significantly following antiretroviral treatment (ART) discontinuation. The balance between the neurocognitive cost of untreated HIV viremia and the possible toxicities of ART require consideration.
Classification of evidence:
This study provides Class III evidence that discontinuing ART is associated with an improvement in 2 neuropsychological tests (Trail-Making Test A & B and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised Digit Symbol subtest) for up to 96 weeks. Resuming ART was not associated with a decline in these scores for up to 45 weeks.
= AIDS Clinical Trials Group;
= antiretroviral treatment;
= highly active antiretroviral therapy;
= HIV-associated dementia;
= neuropsychological summary score;
= treatment interruption;
= viral load.
Cocaine abuse among HIV patients is associated with faster disease progression and mortality. This study examined the relationship between neurocognitive functioning and medication adherence in HIV patients with (n= 25) and without (n= 39) current cocaine dependence. Active users had greater neurocognitive impairment (mean T-score= 35.16 vs. 40.97, p < .05) and worse medication adherence (mean z-score= −0.44 vs. 0.27, p < .001). In a multiple regression model, neurocognitive functioning (β= .33, p < .01) and cocaine dependence (β= −.36, p < .01) were predictive of poorer adherence. There was a significant indirect effect of cocaine dependence on medication adherence through neurocognitive impairment (estimate= −0.15, p < .05), suggesting that neurocognitive impairment partially mediated the relationship between cocaine dependence and poorer adherence. These results confirm that cocaine users are at high risk for poor HIV outcomes and underscore the importance of treating both neurocognitive impairment and cocaine dependence among HIV patients.
HIV/AIDS; cocaine dependence; antiretroviral therapy; medication adherence; neurocognitive functioning
Antiretroviral medications have been shown to benefit neurocognition in HIV/AIDS, and neurocognitive deficits are a risk factor for poor adherence to these medications. However, little is known about the predictive pathways linking medication adherence with cognitive ability.
In the current 6-month cohort study, antiretroviral medication adherence was tracked prospectively among 91 HIV-positive adults using electronic monitoring. Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations were performed at baseline and 6 months.
Multivariate path analyses provided evidence that antiretroviral adherence and cognitive ability are reciprocally related, although the neurocognitive pathways of this relationship appear to vary by predictive direction. Executive function and learning/memory were most strongly predictive of levels of medication adherence achieved, whereas higher levels of adherence were predictive of relative improvements in a wide range of frontostriatal brain functions including processing speed, attention, executive functions, and motor functioning.
These data provide evidence that cognition and adherence are reciprocally related in HIV/AIDS. In particular, executive dysfunction may play a key role in this relationship. Interventions aimed at improving or preserving executive functions could hold promise for interrupting progressive declines in adherence and neurocognitive ability in HIV/AIDS.
= Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition;
= highly active antiretroviral therapy;
= Medication Event Monitoring System;
= protease inhibitor.
The contingent negative variation, an event-related potential related to neural activity in the frontal lobe and basal ganglia, neuropsychological tests and structural MRI were used to examine CNS function and structure in HIV-positive patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. Relative to controls, HIV patients had smaller thalamic volume and reduced late contingent negative variation amplitude that correlated with caudal atrophy. Behaviorally, viremic patients were more impaired than virally suppressed patients and controls on neuropsychological measures of psychomotor speed, selective attention and mental flexibility. These results suggest that antiretroviral therapy may not be effective in protecting cortical and subcortical structures against HIV-related neuropathology, regardless of immune function. However, the benefits of antiretroviral therapy on immune function appear to facilitate neurocognitive performance.
Antiretroviral therapy; Contingent negative variation; Event-related potential; HIV; MRI
To determine whether subjects with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) show altered concentrations of brain glutamate (GLU), and whether lower GLU levels correlate with cognitive deficits.
Materials and Methods
GLU concentrations were measured in the basal ganglia, frontal gray and white matter, and parietal gray matter of 45 HIV-positive and 46 age-and-education-matched HIV-negative subjects, using echo-time averaged proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS).
Compared to controls, HIV subjects with cognitive deficits had lower GLU in the parietal gray matter, while those without cognitive deficits tended to show higher basal ganglia GLU. Lower parietal and frontal gray matter GLU were associated with a greater number of nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, and were predictive of poorer cognitive performance. Correlations between GLU and cognitive performance, but not the other findings, remained significant after correction for multiple comparisons.
Parietal gray matter GLU is lower in HIV subjects with cognitive deficits. This reduction might result from reduced astrocytic reuptake of GLU, secondary excitotoxicity, and mitochondrial toxicity from antiretroviral treatments. The glutamatergic system may play an important role in the pathophysiology of HAND, and brain GLU on 1H MRS may provide an early surrogate marker for monitoring disease severity and treatment effects.
Glutamate; brain; magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS); HIV; cognition
The objective of this study was to examine the spectrum of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) brain pathology and its clinical correlates in the antiretroviral era. We carried out a cross-sectional survey, analyzing prospective clinical and neuropathological data collected by the National NeuroAIDS Tissue Consortium (NNTC), comprising 589 brain samples from individuals with advanced HIV disease collected from 1999 onwards. We assessed gender, ethnicity/race, mode of transmission, age, year of death, nadir CD4, plasma viral load, last antiretroviral regimen, presence of parenchymal HIV brain pathology, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder, and major depressive disorder. We compared cohort demographic variables with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US HIV/AIDS statistics and examined associations of parenchymal HIV brain pathology with demographic, clinical, and HIV disease factors. With regard to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US data, the NNTC was similar in age distribution, but had fewer females and African Americans and more Hispanics and men who have sex with men. Only 22% of the brains examined were neuropathologically normal. Opportunistic infections occurred in 1% to 5% of the cohort. Parenchymal HIV brain pathology was observed in 17.5% of the cohort and was associated with nadir CD4 and plasma viral load. Brains without parenchymal HIV brain pathology often had other noninfectious findings or minimal nondiagnostic abnormalities that were associated with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. Clinically, 60% of the cohort reported a lifetime episode of major depressive disorder and 88% had a HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. No pathological finding correlated with major depressive disorder. Both antiretroviral treatment regimen and elevated plasma HIV viral load were associated with presence of parenchymal HIV brain pathology; however, multivariate analyses suggest a stronger association with plasma viral load. The frequency of HIV brain pathology was lower than previous pre-antiretroviral reports, and was predicted by lower nadir CD4 and higher plasma viral load. Noninfectious pathologies and minimal changes correlated with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder, suggesting a shift in pathogenesis from florid HIV replication to other, diverse mechanisms.
all infections; HIV dementia; risk factors in epidemiology
This review focuses on the “real world” implications of infection with HIV/AIDS from a neuropsychological perspective. Relevant literature is reviewed which examines the relationships between HIV-associated neuropsychological impairment and employment, driving, medication adherence, mood, fatigue, and interpersonal functioning. Specifically, the relative contributions of medical, cognitive, psychosocial, and psychiatric issues on whether someone with HIV/AIDS will be able to return to work, adhere to a complicated medication regimen, or safely drive a vehicle will be discussed. Methodological issues that arise in the context of measuring medication adherence or driving capacity are also explored. Finally, the impact of HIV/AIDS on mood state, fatigue, and interpersonal relationships are addressed, with particular emphasis on how these variables interact with cognition and independent functioning. The purpose of this review is to integrate neuropsychological findings with their real world correlates of functional behavior in the HIV/AIDS population.
HIV/AIDS; Neuropsychology; Medication adherence; Employment; Driving
To assess the association of HIV infection, HIV disease parameters (including CD4+ T-cell counts, HIV viral load, and AIDS) and antiretroviral medication use with subclinical carotid artery atherosclerosis.
Cross-sectional study nested within a prospective cohort study
Among participants in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (1,331 HIV-infected women, 534 HIV-uninfected women) and Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (600 HIV-infected men, 325 HIV-uninfected men), we measured subclinical carotid artery lesions and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT) using B-mode ultrasound. We estimated adjusted mean CIMT differences and prevalence ratios (PRs) for carotid lesions associated with HIV-related disease and treatments, with multivariate adjustment to control for possible confounding variables.
Among HIV-infected individuals, a low CD4+ T cell count was independently associated with an increased prevalence of carotid lesions. Compared to the reference group of HIV-uninfected individuals, the adjusted PR for lesions among HIV-infected individuals with CD4+ T-cell count <200 cells/mm3 was 2.00 (95% confidence interval 1.22, 3.28) in women and 1.74 (95% confidence interval 1.04, 2.93) in men. No consistent association of antiretroviral medications with carotid atherosclerosis was observed, except for a borderline significant association between protease inhibitor use and carotid lesions in men (with no association among women). History of clinical AIDS and HIV viral load were not significantly associated with carotid atherosclerosis.
Beyond traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors, low CD4+ T-cell count is the most robust risk factor for increased subclinical carotid atherosclerosis in HIV-infected women and men.
The extent to which highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) era cognitive disorders are due to active processes, incomplete clearance of reservoirs, or comorbidities is controversial. This study aimed to determine if immunologic and virologic factors influence cognition after first-time HAART in Thai individuals with HIV-associated dementia (HAD) and Thai individuals without HAD (non-HAD).
Variables were captured longitudinally to determine factors predictive of degree of cognitive recovery after first-time HAART. Neuropsychological data were compared to those of 230 HIV-negative Thai controls.
HIV RNA and CD4 lymphocyte counts were not predictive of HAD cross-sectionally or degree of cognitive improvement longitudinally. In contrast, baseline and longitudinal HIV DNA isolated from monocytes correlated to cognitive performance irrespective of plasma HIV RNA and CD4 lymphocyte counts pre-HAART (p < 0.001) and at 48 weeks post HAART (p < 0.001). Levels exceeding 3.5 log10 copies HIV DNA/106 monocyte at baseline distinguished all HAD and non-HAD cases (p < 0.001). At 48 weeks, monocyte HIV DNA was below the level of detection of our assay (10 copies/106 cells) in 15/15 non-HAD compared to only 4/12 HAD cases, despite undetectable plasma HIV RNA in 26/27 cases. Baseline monocyte HIV DNA predicted 48-week cognitive performance on a composite score, independently of concurrent monocyte HIV DNA and CD4 count (p < 0.001).
Monocyte HIV DNA level correlates to cognitive performance before highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 48 weeks after HAART in this cohort and baseline monocyte HIV DNA may predict 48-week cognitive performance. These findings raise the possibility that short-term incomplete cognitive recovery with HAART may represent an active process related to this peripheral reservoir.
= confidence interval;
= circulating recombinant form;
= global deficit score;
= highly active antiretroviral therapy;
= HIV-associated dementia;
= International HIV Dementia Scale;
= interquartile range;
= neurocognitive impairment;
= peripheral blood mononuclear cell;
= Thai Depression Inventory score.
In view of the rising prevalence of an overweight body mass among patients living with HIV/AIDS, clinicians must now be mindful of possible adverse outcomes resulting from the co-occurrence. The present study was designed to examine the additive and interactive effects of HIV/AIDS and an excess body mass, as well as the additional contributions of substance abuse or dependence. The dependent variable was brain function estimated by the measurement of P300 electroencephalographic potentials. P300 potentials were recorded during a task designed to elicit subcomponents with frontal (P300a) and both frontal and nonfrontal (P300b) generators. Analyses revealed greater frontal P300a latencies among the 102 HIV-1 seropositive versus the 68 seronegative participants. In addition, frontal P300a latency was further increased by a synergistic interaction of HIV-1 serostatus with a body mass index (BMI) ≥ 25 kg/m2. A history of substance abuse/dependence did not alter these changes. However, it did combine with HIV/AIDS to produce a smaller P300a amplitude than was seen in participants with neither disorder. The findings suggest that white matter changes accompanying an excess BMI may exacerbate those that attend HIV/AIDS and thereby slow frontal brain function. Substance abuse likewise interacts with HIV/AIDS but may impair frontal brain function via a different mechanism.
HIV-1; Obesity; BMI; Evoked Potentials; EEG; White Matter; Substance Dependence
To assess the P300 latency and amplitude in recently diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients and compare the same with a healthy control group. Further an attempt was made to study the correlation between P300 amplitude and latency (in milliseconds) with neurocognitive functions.
Materials and Methods:
Thirty newly diagnosed HIV-positive patients who on self report did not have any cognitive dysfunction were recruited. The patients were evaluated for P300 evoked response using the odd-ball paradigm, MMSE and a comprehensive neuropsychological battery. The P300 latencies were compared with 30 normal control subjects.
The mean P300 latency (in milliseconds) of the HIV-positive subjects was significantly more than the healthy control group. The mean amplitude of HIV group was significantly less than the normal control group. On MMSE, 7 HIV-positive subjects had mild cognitive impairment (MMSE total score 20-23), six patients had minimal cognitive impairment (MMSE total score 24-27) and 17 patients had no cognitive impairment (MMSE total score >27). On neuropsychological test battery only three (10%) of HIV-positive subjects had cognitive dysfunction. There was negative correlation between P300 latency (in milliseconds) and MMSE total score and performance on Koh's Block subtest.
P300 may be a reliable indicator of cognitive impairments in HIV patients.
Cognitive functions; evoked potential; human immunodeficiency virus
Introduction. HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remains common despite the availability of antiretroviral therapy. Routine screening will improve early detections. Objective. To compare the performance of the minimental state examination (MMSE) and international HIV dementia scale (IHDS) in assessing neurocognitive function in HIV/AIDS patients on antiretroviral therapy. Methods. A case-control study of 208 HIV-positive and 121 HIV-negative individuals. Baseline demographic data were documented and cognitive function assessed using the two instruments. CD4 cell counts were recorded. Results. Cases comprised 137 females and 71 males. Controls were 86 females and 35 males. Mean MMSE score of cases was 27.7 ± 1.8 compared to 27.8 ± 1.3 in controls (P = 0.54). Mean IHDS score in cases was 8.36 ± 3.1 compared to 10.7 ± 0.9 in controls (P < 0.001). Using the MMSE scale, 6 cases but no controls had HAND (P = 0.09). Using the IHDS, 113 (54.3%) had HAND compared with 10 (8.3%) controls (P < 0.0001). Using IHDS, 56.5% cases with CD4 count > 200 had HAND compared with 92.5% with CD4 count < 200 (P < 0.001). Conclusion. These findings indicate that the IHDS detects higher rates of HAND and may identify HIV/AIDS patients who require further cognitive assessment using more robust assessment batteries.
Optimal antiretroviral therapy (ART) effectiveness depends upon medication adherence, which is a complex behavior with many contributing factors including neurocognitive function. Pharmacy refill records offer a promising and practical tool to assess adherence.
A substudy of the CHARTER (CNS HIV Anti-Retroviral Therapy Effects Research) study was conducted at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and the University of Washington (UW). Pharmacy refill records were the primary method to measure ART adherence, indexed to a “sentinel” drug with the highest central nervous system penetration effectiveness score.
Standardized neuromedical, neuropsychological, psychiatric and substance use assessments were performed at enrollment and at 6 months. Regression models were used to determine factors associated with adherence and the relationships between adherence and change in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid HIV RNA concentrations between visits.
Among 80 (33 JHU, 47 UW) participants, the mean adherence score was 86.4% with no difference by site. In the final multivariable model, better neurocognitive function was associated with better adherence, especially among participants who were at JHU, male, and HIV-infected for a longer time-period. Worse performance on working memory tests was associated with worse adherence. Better adherence predicted greater decreases in cerebrospinal fluid HIV RNA between visits.
Poorer global neurocognitive functioning and deficits in working memory were associated with lower adherence defined by a pharmacy refill record measure, suggesting that assessments of cognitive function, and working memory in particular, may identify patients at risk for poor ART adherence who would benefit from adherence support.
HIV; adherence; cognitive impairment; pharmacy refill records; HAND; CPE
An association between platelet decline and increased risk of progression to dementia has been observed in an advanced HIV infection cohort study. This investigation evaluated the prognostic significance of platelet decline for dementia, for psychomotor slowing and for brain injury, as quantified in vivo, in a much larger population of HIV+ men. Platelet counts and neurocognitive data were available from biannual visits of 2,125 HIV+ men participating in the prospective, Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) from 1984 to 2009. Brain volumetric data were also available from an imaging substudy of 83 seropositive participants aged 50 and older. The association of platelet counts with neurocognitive outcome was assessed using Cox proportional hazard models where change in platelet count from baseline was a time-updated variable. Marked platelet decline was associated with increased risk of dementia in univariate analysis (HR=2.5, 95%CI=1.8 – 3.5), but not after adjustment for CD4 cell count, HIV viral load, age, study site, hemoglobin, race, education, smoking and alcohol use (HR=1.4, 95%CI=0.78-2.5). Platelet decline did not predict psychomotor slowing in either univariate (HR=0.79, 95%CI=0.58-1.08) or multivariate (HR=1.10, 95%CI=0.73-1.67) analyses. Analysis of brain volumetric data, however, indicated a relationship between platelet decline and reduced gray matter volume fraction in univariate (p=0.06) and in multivariate (p<0.05) analyses. Platelet decline was not an independent predictor of dementia or psychomotor slowing, after adjusting for stage of disease. Findings from a structural brain imaging substudy of older participants, however, support a possible relationship between platelet decline and reduced gray matter.
HIV; HIV dementia; hematologic; volumetric MRI; platelets
Engagement in HIV care is increasingly recognized as a crucial step in maximizing individual patient outcomes. The recently updated HIV Medicine Association primary HIV care guidelines include a new recommendation highlighting the importance of extending adherence beyond antiretroviral medications to include adherence to clinical care. Beyond individual health, emphasis on a “test and treat” approach to HIV prevention highlights the public health importance of engagement in clinical care as an essential intermediary between the putative benefits of universal HIV testing (“test”) followed by ubiquitous antiretroviral treatment (“treat”). One challenge to administrators, researchers and clinicians who want to systematically evaluate HIV clinical engagement is deciding on how to measure retention in care. Measuring retention is complex as this process includes multiple clinic visits (repeated measures) occurring longitudinally over time. This article provides a synthesis of five commonly used measures of retention in HIV care, highlighting their methodological and conceptual strengths and limitations, and suggesting situations where certain measures may be preferred over others. The five measures are missed visits, appointment adherence, visit constancy, gaps in care, and the Human Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau (HRSA HAB) performance measure for retention in HIV care. As has been noted for antiretroviral medication adherence, there is no gold standard to measure retention in care, and consideration of the advantages and limitations of each measure, particularly in the context of the desired application, should guide selection of a retention measure.
Despite the widening use of combination anti-retroviral therapy (ART), neurocognitive impairment remains common among HIV-infected (HIV+) individuals. Associations between HIV-related neuromedical variables and magnetic resonance imaging indices of brain structural integrity may provide insight into the neural bases for these symptoms. A diverse HIV+ sample (n=251) was studied through the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research initiative. Multi-channel image analysis produced volumes of ventricular and sulcal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), cortical and subcortical gray matter, total cerebral white matter, and abnormal white matter. Cross-sectional analyses employed a series of multiple linear regressions to model each structural volume as a function of severity of prior immunosuppression (CD4 nadir), current CD4 count, presence of detectable CSF HIV RNA, and presence of HCV antibodies; secondary analyses examined plasma HIV RNA, estimated duration of HIV infection, and cumulative exposure to ART. Lower CD4 nadir was related to most measures of the structural brain damage. Higher current CD4, unexpectedly, correlated with lower white and subcortical gray and increased CSF. Detectable CSF HIV RNA was related to less total white matter. HCV coinfection was associated with more abnormal white matter. Longer exposure to ART was associated with lower white matter and higher sulcal CSF. HIV neuromedical factors, including lower nadir, higher current CD4 levels, and detectable HIV RNA, were associated with white matter damage and variability in subcortical volumes. Brain structural integrity in HIV likely reflects dynamic effects of current immune status and HIV replication, superimposed on residual effects associated with severe prior immunosuppression.
HIV; MRI; Neuroimaging; Immunospupression
To explore the prevalence and features of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDS) in Botswana, a sub-Saharan country at the center of the HIV epidemic.
Design and Methods
A cross sectional study of 60 HIV-positive individuals, all receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), and 80 demographically matched HIV-seronegative control subjects. We administered a comprehensive neuropsychological test battery and structured psychiatric interview. The lowest 10th percentile of results achieved by control subjects was used to define the lower limit of normal performance on cognitive measures. Subjects who scored abnormal on three or more measures were classified as cognitively impaired. To determine the clinical significance of any cognitive impairment, we assessed medication adherence, employment, and independence in activities of daily living (ADL).
HIV+ subjects were impaired for all cognitive-motor ability areas compared with matched, uninfected control subjects. Thirty seven percent of HIV+ patients met criteria for cognitive impairment.
These findings indicate that neurocognitive impairment is likely to be an important feature of HIV infection in resource-limited countries; underscoring the need to develop effective treatments for subjects with, or at risk of developing, cognitive impairment.
The profile of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) has classically been characterized as “subcortical”, but questions have arisen as to whether aging with HIV in the antiretroviral therapy era has subtlety shifted the expression of HAND into a more “cortical” disorder (e.g., decay of semantic memory stores). We evaluated this hypothesis by examining semantic fluency and its component processes (i.e., clustering and switching) in 257 individuals across four groups stratified by age (<40 and ≥ 50 years) and HIV serostatus. Jonckheere-Terpstra tests revealed significant monotonic trends for the combined effects of HIV and aging on overall semantic (and letter) fluency and switching, but not cluster size, with greatest deficits evident in the older adults with HIV infection. Within the older HIV-infected cohort, poorer switching was uniquely associated with self-reported declines in instrumental activities of daily living and deficits in learning and executive functions, but not semantic memory. Results suggest that HIV infection and aging may confer adverse additive effects on the executive components of semantic fluency (i.e., switching), rather than a degradation of semantic memory stores (i.e., cluster size), which is a profile that is most consistent with combined frontostriatal neuropathological burden of these two conditions.
Immunologic disorders; geropsychology; verbal fluency; executive functions; cognitive neuropsychology
Cerebral atrophy is a well described, but poorly understood complication of HIV infection. Despite reduced prevalence of HIV-associated dementia in the HAART era, HIV continues to affect the brains of patients with chronic infection. In this study we examine patterns of brain volume loss in HIV infected patients on HAART, and demographic and clinical factors contributing to it. We hypothesized that nadir CD4+ lymphocyte count, duration of HIV infection and age would be associated with reduced cortical volumes.
Volumes of cortical and subcortical regions in 69 HIV-infected neuroasymptomatic (NA) individuals and 13 with at least mild AIDS dementia complex (ADC) were measured using voxel-based morphometry. Demographic and clinical factors (age, plasma HIV RNA level, current and nadir CD4 count, duration of infection, CNS penetration of antiretroviral regimen) along with their interactions were entered into a regression model selection algorithm to determine the final models that best described regional brain volumes.
Relative to NA, individuals with ADC exhibited decreased total gray matter and parietal cortex volumes and increased total ventricular volumes. Final regression models showed overall cerebral volume, including gray and white matter volume and volumes of the parietal, temporal, and frontal lobes and the hippocampus, were most strongly associated with disease history factors (nadir CD4 and duration of infection). In contrast, basal ganglia volumes were related most strongly to current disease factors, most notably plasma HIV RNA.
These findings indicate that individuals with a history of chronic HIV infection with previous episodes of severely impaired immune function, as reflected by reduced nadir CD4 + lymphocyte count, may be at greatest risk for cerebral atrophy. The pattern of HIV-associated brain loss may be changing from a subcortical to a cortical disease among patients who are largely asymptomatic on HAART.
Although the use of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the treatment of HIV infection has led to considerable improvement in morbidity and mortality, unless patients are adherent to their drug regimen (i.e., at least 90 to 95% of doses taken), viral replication may ensue and drug-resistant strains of the virus may emerge.
The authors studied the extent to which neuropsychological compromise and medication regimen complexity are predictive of poor adherence in a convenience sample of 137 HIV-infected adults. Medication adherence was tracked through the use of electronic monitoring technology (MEMS caps).
Two-way analysis of variance revealed that neurocognitive compromise as well as complex medication regimens were associated with significantly lower adherence rates. Cognitively compromised participants on more complex regimens had the greatest difficulty with adherence. Deficits in executive function, memory, and attention were associated with poor adherence. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that neuropsychological compromise was associated with a 2.3 times greater risk of adherence failure. Older age (>50 years) was also found to be associated with significantly better adherence.
HIV-infected adults with significant neurocognitive compromise are at risk for poor medication adherence, particularly if they have been prescribed a complex dosing regimen. As such, simpler dosing schedules for more cognitively impaired patients might improve adherence.
The presence of autonomic dysfunction in HIV patients is largely unknown. Early studies found autonomic dysfunction in patients with AIDS. Antiretroviral combination therapy (ART) has dramatically changed the course of the disease and improved prognosis and decreased morbidity.
To evaluate whether autonomic dysfunction is present in an ART treated HIV population and if so to identify factors of importance.
HIV patients receiving ART for at least 12 months (n = 97) and an age-matched control group of healthy volunteers (n = 52) were included. All were non-diabetic and had never received medication for hypertension. Following a 10 min resting period a 15 min ECG recording was performed. Heart-rate variability (HRV) analysis was performed in accordance with current guidelines and data reported as mean [interquartile range].
Mean normal-to-normal (NN) and total HRV measured as standard deviation of normal-to-normal (SDNN) was lower in HIV patients compared to controls (905 vs. 982 ms; p<0.001 and 48 vs. 54 ms; p = 0.028, respectively). No differences were found between the groups in parasympathetic activity measured as square root of the mean squared difference of successive NN-intervals (RMSSD) or the percent of differences between adjacent NN intervals greater than 50 ms (pNN50). In the HIV positives, haemoglobin A1c correlated inversely with SDNN, RMSSD and pNN50 (p<0.05). Total cholesterol and LDL-C correlated inversely with RMSSD and pNN50 (p<0.05). Neither HIV duration, HIV-RNA, CD4 cell count nor CD4 nadir correlated with time or phase domain HRV variables.
Moderate autonomic dysfunction is present in HIV positives patients even with suppressed viral load due to ART. The dysfunction is correlated with HbA1c and hypercholesterolemia but not to duration of HIV or whether the patients were receiving protease inhibitors as part of the ART regime.