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AIDS. 2017 Jul 17;31(11):1565-1571. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000001523.

Impact of aging on neurocognitive performance in previously antiretroviral-naive HIV-infected individuals on their first suppressive regimen.

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aDepartment of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California bDepartment of Neurology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina cCenter for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts dUniversity of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington eDepartment of Neuroscience, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA.



Despite treatment with virologically suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART), neurocognitive impairment may persist or develop de novo in aging HIV-infected individuals. We evaluated advancing age as a predictor of neurocognitive impairment in a large cohort of previously ART-naive individuals on long-term ART.


The AIDS Clinical Trials Group Longitudinal Linked Randomized Trials was a prospective cohort study of HIV-infected individuals originally enrolled in randomized ART trials. This analysis examined neurocognitive outcomes at least 2 years after ART initiation.


All participants underwent annual neurocognitive testing consisting of Trail making A and B, the wechsler adult intelligence scale-revised Digit Symbol and Hopkins Verbal Learning Tests. Uni and multivariable repeated measures regression models evaluated factors associated with neurocognitive performance. Predictors at parent study entry (ART naive) included entry demographics, smoking, injection drug use, hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis C virus serostatus, history of stroke, ART regimen type, pre-ART nadir CD4 cell count, and plasma viral load and as well as time-updated plasma viral load and CD4 cell count.


The cohort comprised 3313 individuals with median pre-ART age of 38 years, 20% women; 36% Black, non-Hispanic; 22% Hispanic. Virologic suppression was maintained at 91% of follow-up visits. Neurocognitive performance improved with years of ART. After adjusting for the expected effects of age using norms from HIV-negative individuals, the odds of neurocognitive impairment at follow-up visits among the HIV infected increased by nearly 20% for each decade of advancing age.


Despite continued virologic suppression and neurocognitive improvement in the cohort as a whole, older individuals were more likely to have neurocognitive impairment than younger individuals.


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