To estimate the prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) among HIV patients in a multiethnic South Asian population, describe the pattern of neurocognitive impairment in HAND and the factors associated with HAND.
A cross-sectional survey of HIV-positive outpatients and inpatients.
The sole referral centre for HIV/AIDS treatment in Singapore.
Inclusion criteria were HIV positive, age between 21 and 80 years old and at least 3 years of education. Exclusion criteria included concomitant delirium, serious systemic disease or major psychiatric illness. 265 patients did not meet criteria or declined to participate. The final sample size was 132.
The primary outcome measure was cognitive impairment based on performance on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, International HIV Dementia Scale and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. The secondary outcome measure was the classification of impairment based on the 2007 updated research nosology for HAND.
The prevalence of HAND was 22.7% of which 70% (15.9% of total) were asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment, 23.3% (5.3% of total) were mild neurocognitive disorder and 6.7% (1.5% of total) were HIV-associated dementia. Increasing age (OR 1.104, 95% CI 1.054 to 1.155, p<0.001), less education (OR 0.78, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.89, p<0.001) and low baseline CD4 count (OR 0.15, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.74, p=0.019) were associated with HAND. Delayed recall, language and abstract thinking were the domains most commonly affected, but impairment in visuospatial ability (RC 3.013, 95% CI 1.954 to 4.073, p<0.001) and attention (RC 2.205, 95% CI 1.043 to 3.367, p<0.001) were most strongly associated with HAND.
HAND is common among HIV patients in a South Asian sample, most of whom are asymptomatic. Older patients with less education and severe illness at diagnosis are at highest risk of HAND. Delayed recall is most commonly affected, but visuospatial dysfunction is most strongly associated with prevalent HAND.
What is the prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) in South Asia?
What are the demographic and clinical characteristics of South Asian individuals with HAND?
The estimated prevalence of HAND in South Asia is high.
Older patients with less education and more severe HIV illness at diagnosis are at highest risk for HAND.
Early diagnosis of HIV and access to care and treatment is essential.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The article's strengths are it is the first study on HAND in a representative multiethnic South Asian population and it used a method of detection that is applicable to local clinical practice.
The limitations are the small sample size and non-comparability with other HAND studies due to different methods used in detection of HAND cases.
Another major limitation is the lack of published local normative data on the tools used.