There is life with HIV

More than 2/3 of young adults with HIV may experience neuro-cognitive deterioration

I often wonder if I'm even normal ...

According to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health of the United States (NIH) and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health (Journal of Adolescent Health in free translation from English), more than two thirds of young adults with HIV would present asymptomatic cognitive impairment which, despite not interfering with daily activities, could affect several cognitive areas such as memory or motor skills. The risk of developing such complications would be reduced by maintaining good infection control and avoiding high alcohol consumption.

Neuro-cognitive deterioration associated with HIV has been an important topic of study in recent years (see La Noticia delDía 16 / 07 / 2013), given its high incidence and how it can affect the quality of life of people who suffer it. However, until the present study, this complication had not been investigated in young adults. Considering that this group is affected by more than a third of new infections, researching the presence of neuro-cognitive deterioration in this age group was a relevant social need.

To clarify this point, the researchers counted on the participation of 200 young adults with HIV, aged between 18 and 24 years. The participants were not undergoing treatment antiretroviral and had been diagnosed with the infection during the two years prior to their inclusion in the trial.

All participants took a battery of tests that assessed various neuro-cognitive areas such as memory, attention, different motor skills (coordination, balance, etc.) and verbal ability and reading. We also included questions about the use of recreational drugs and healthy habits.

67% of the study participants had neuro-cognitive impairment, which in 96% of cases were asymptomatic. The areas most affected were memory and motor skills.

Na multivariable analysis by researchers, factors such as having a low CD4Have been growing period after diagnosis of infectioncancer cell HIV and high alcohol consumption was associated independently and significantly to the development of neuro-cognitive impairment.

Neuro-cognitive functions are one of the most relevant aspects for assessing a person's quality of life. In the specific context of HIV infection, cognitive capacity is especially important considering the need for care of one's own health and the continuity of antiretroviral therapy, which often needs to follow complex guidelines. If memory loss causes accession to treatment, there would be a risk of losing control of HIV infection, a fact that, in addition to endangering the health of the individual, would decrease the number of CD4, one of the risk factors that can worsen the neuro-cognitive deterioration found in the study .

The results of this test are of particular concern because, if neuro-cognitive problems are observed in young adults in such a high proportion, even though they are mostly asymptomatic, do not know its long-term evolution, and its intensity could increase. Thus, it will be important to determine accurately the causes that favor this deterioration and search therapeutic interventions that are able to stop it and hopefully reverse it.


Source: HIVandHepatitis.
Reference: Nichols SL, Bethel J, Garvie PA, et al. Neurocognitive Functioning in Antiretroviral Therapy-Naive Youth With Behaviorally Acquired Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Journal of Adolescent Health. August 21, 2013 (Epub ahead of print).

Francesc Martínez

Translator Raquel Cirne PT <> ESP

[email protected]

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