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AIDS. 2010 May 15;24(8):1163-70.

HIV-subtype A is associated with poorer neuropsychological performance compared with subtype D in antiretroviral therapy-naive Ugandan children.

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International Neurologic and Psychiatric Epidemiology Program Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.



HIV-subtype D is associated with more rapid disease progression and higher rates of dementia in Ugandan adults compared with HIV-subtype A. There are no data comparing neuropsychological function by HIV subtype in Ugandan children.


One hundred and two HIV-infected antiretroviral therapy (ART) naive Ugandan children 6-12 years old (mean 8.9) completed the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, second edition (KABC-2), the Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA), and the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test for Motor Proficiency, second edition (BOT-2). Using a PCR-based multiregion assay with probe hybridization in five different regions (gag, pol, vpu, env, gp-41), HIV subtype was defined by hybridization in env and by total using two or more regions. Analysis of covariance was used for multivariate comparison.


The env subtype was determined in 54 (37 A, 16 D, 1 C) children. Subtype A and D groups were comparable by demographics, CD4 status, and WHO stage. Subtype A infections had higher log viral loads (median 5.0 vs. 4.6, P = 0.02). Children with A performed more poorly than those with D on all measures, especially on KABC-2 Sequential Processing (memory) (P = 0.01), Simultaneous Processing (visual-spatial analysis) (P = 0.005), Learning (P = 0.02), and TOVA visual attention (P = 0.04). When adjusted for viral load, Sequential and Simultaneous Processing remained significantly different. Results were similar comparing by total HIV subtype.


HIV subtype A children demonstrated poorer neurocognitive performance than those with HIV subtype D. Subtype-specific neurocognitive deficits may reflect age-related differences in the neuropathogenesis of HIV. This may have important implications for when to initiate ART and the selection of drugs with greater central nervous system penetration.

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