Cognitive function in treated HIV patients
Valerio Tozzi, Pietro Balestra, Raffaella Libertone, Andrea Antinori
Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute for Infectious Diseases, Rome, Italy
Abstract: Although highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has reduced the incidence of HIV-associated dementia, the overall prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) has increased. Since treatment and prevention of HAND are becoming an increasing concern, management strategies for cognitive impairment in patients living with HIV are expected to play an important role in the near future. This review summarizes the existing literature on studies investigating cognitive functions in patients receiving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. Most studies indicate that HAART use results in improvement of neurocognitive functions, yet milder forms of HAND are not only prevalent, but also incident in patients with persistently undetectable plasma HIV RNA. We performed a systematic review on all studies performed in patients receiving ARV treatment that included neurocognitive evaluations as study end points. Thirty-six studies were examined. Study methodology varied from cross-sectional to double-blind, randomized, controlled designs. Aside from historic zidovudine monotherapy trials, in most studies, ARV schemes varied considerably, and in some cases, ARV regimens were not reported in detail. Only a few articles included virological studies on cerebrospinal fluid. Study duration was <2 years in most cases. Differences in study design and presence of study limitations may account for difficulties in understanding the impact of HAART on cognition and in evaluating the effect of an individual agent or ARV regimen on cognitive functioning. The aim of the present article is to provide HIV clinicians with a comprehensive review of recent achievements and future prospects for ARV treatment and prevention of cognitive dysfunctions in HIV-infected patients.
Keywords: highly active antiretroviral therapy, neurocognitive disorders, HIV dementia, central nervous system
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