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AIDS Care. 2005 Nov;17(8):1013-21.

Utility of the HIV dementia scale in assessing risk for significant HIV-related cognitive-motor deficits in a high-risk urban adult sample.

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Division of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02215, USA.


Considerable literature reflects the range of HIV-related neurocognitive complications, including relatively poor performance on tests of: movement and coordination; attention and concentration; reaction time; and mental flexibility. Efforts to develop appropriate screening techniques include the HIV Dementia Scale (HDS), a brief measure that has demonstrated promise but is lacking extensive independent evaluation. The present study examines the utility of the HDS in a sample of HIV-seropositive adults with a co-morbid history of psychiatric and substance use disorders. Forty subjects (65% male; mean age 41 years; mean education 12.2 years; 55% African American, 30% Caucasian) recruited for a study of the impact of brief psychotherapy on adherence to medications and medical appointments, relapse prevention, and/or enhancement of mental health functioning completed a battery of neuropsychological measures, including the HDS. Forty percent were identified as at high risk for significant cognitive-motor disorder (HDS total score < or =10). After controlling for age, education, illness (absolute CD4), and depressed mood, high-risk participants performed significantly worse on measures of simple and sustained divided attention, psychomotor speed, and working memory. However, only 25 of 40 (63%) were correctly classified based on their performance on traditional tests of neuropsychological functioning. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.

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