Cognitive function analyses


Concentration difficulties have been widely reported by many research teams, in otherwise well treated persons living with HIV. However actual rates of cognitive impairment, or mild dementia, in people living with HIV are difficult to determine due to differences in definitions used and differences in the characteristics of the people living with HIV in different parts of the world.

Study aims

Our aims are to describe in detail, cognitive health and function in people living with HIV in the UK and Ireland and compare these findings to a matched control population. In the POPPY study, a detailed assessment of cognitive function is undertaken at baseline and then after 2 years using a computerised cognitive battery (CogState™) which has been validated extensively in HIV disease.

Work to date

Our initial analyses and publications looked at different definitions for defining cognitive impairment in HIV; here we looked at three definitions known as the HAND criteria (HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders), MNC (multivariate normative comparison) and GDS (global deficit score). Overall, cognitive function was poorer in HIV positive individuals and the agreement between these criteria to define cognitive function was fair.

Next steps

We now plan to assess associations with cognitive function with analyses underway assessing association with i) depression, ii) ART use, and iii) syphilis.