Neuropsychological Changes in a Prospectively Followed Cohort of Homosexual and Bisexual Men With and Without HIV Infection

Stern, Yaakov; Liu, Xinhua; Marder, Karen; Todak, George; Sano, Mary; Ehrhardt, Anke A.; Gorman, Jack M.

We evaluated neuropsychological test performance of 168 homosexual and bisexual men with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection (113 HIV+ subjects and 55 HIV- controls) over 4.5 years of semiannual follow-up. Analyses of the longitudinal data were performed by applying generalized estimating equations (GEEs) to regression analyses with repeated measures. Compared with the HIV- men, the HIV+ subjects performed more poorly on memory testing. Performance on all tests tended to improve over time, but this improvement was attenuated or eliminated in the HIV+ group for tests of language and attention. Within the HIV+ subjects, improvement over time in tests of memory, executive function, language, and attention was attenuated or eliminated in patients with lower CD4 levels; more advanced HIV disease was associated with poorer memory and executive function and with attenuated or reduced learning effects for memory, motor speed, and language tests. Clinically significant neurologic findings were associated with worse memory and orientation and with attenuated or reversed learning effects for memory, language, and attention tests. There were 33 deaths in the HIV+ group. In the men who died, there was more rapid decline in executive, language, and attentional test performance. These observations remained significant after controlling for HIV disease severity. We conclude that HIV infecting the CNS results in progressive cognitive change that is closely associated with neurologic findings. In addition, our findings suggest a relation between more rapid cognitive progression and death.


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February 23, 2018