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Cognitive impairment in patients with AIDS – prevalence and severity

Authors Watkins C, Treisman G

Received 15 April 2014

Accepted for publication 14 August 2014

Published 29 January 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 35—47


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Shenghan Lai

Crystal C Watkins,1,2 Glenn J Treisman2

1The Memory Center in Neuropsychiatry, Sheppard Pratt Health System, 2Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

Abstract: The advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy has prolonged the life expectancy of HIV patients and decreased the number of adults who progress to AIDS and HIV-associated dementia. However, neurocognitive deficits remain a pronounced consequence of HIV/AIDS. HIV-1 infection targets the central nervous system in subcortical brain areas and leads to high rates of delirium, depression, opportunistic central nervous system infections, and dementia. Long-term HIV replication in the brain occurs in astrocytes and microglia, allowing the virus to hide from antiviral medication and later compromise neuronal function. The associated cognitive disturbance is linked to both viral activity and inflammatory and other mediators from these immune cells that lead to the damage associated with HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, a general term given for these disturbances. We review the severity and prevalence of the neuropsychiatric complications of HIV including delirium, neurobehavioral impairments (depression), minor cognitive-motor dysfunction, and HIV-associated dementia.

Keywords: HIV, delirium, depression, HAND, dementia; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder

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