Young adults perinatally infected with HIV perform more poorly on measures of executive functioning and motor speed than ethnically matched healthy controls.

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DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2016.1234677


Perinatal HIV is associated with significant neurocognitive morbidities, but few studies have examined cognitive impact of early HIV infection on patients surviving to adulthood. The purpose of this study was to evaluate neurocognitive outcomes among a cohort of perinatally infected young adults. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 with perinatal infection were recruited for this cross-sectional study along with similarly aged healthy controls. Participants completed an MRI and brief neuropsychological assessment battery. Multivariate analysis of covariance controlling for age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education was completed to detect differences between the HIV+ and control groups. Multivariable linear regression was performed to assess HIV-associated factors potentially impacting neuropsychological findings among the HIV+ group. Twenty-nine HIV+ young adults and 13 healthy controls were included in the study. After adjusting for age and sociodemographic variables, the HIV+ group scored lower on attention/working memory (Digit Span (p = .008) and Letter-Number Sequencing (p = .038)), set-shifting (DKEFS Trail Making Test Condition 4 (p = .026) and motor speed (DKEFS Trail Making Test Condition 5 (p = .003)). For the HIV+ group, nadir CD4 was associated with better Letter-Number Sequencing score (p = .029) and use of highly active antiretroviral therapy was associated with better performance on Category Fluency (p = .040). After controlling for sociodemographic variables, executive dysfunction persists among young adults with perinatal HIV infection in comparison to controls. Future studies to further elucidate the impact of executive dysfunction on independent living and functional outcomes are indicated.

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AIDS care





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MeSH Keywords

Adolescent; Case-Control Studies; Child of Impaired Parents; Cognition Disorders; Ethnic Groups; Female; HIV Infections; Humans; Male; Neuropsychological Tests; Young Adult


Perinatal HIV; adolescent; executive function; neuropsychological

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