The potential role of gender in the occurrence of HIV-related neurocognitive impairment (NCI) and associations with markers of HIV-related immune activity has not been previously examined. In this study 149 antiretroviral-naïve seropositive subjects in Nigeria (SP, 92 women and 57 men) and 58 seronegative (SN, 38 women and 20 men) were administered neuropsychological testing that assessed 7 ability domains. From the neuropsychological test scores was calculated a global deficit score (GDS), a measure of overall NCI. Percentages of circulating monocytes and plasma HIV RNA, soluble CD163 and soluble CD14 levels were also assessed. HIV SP women were found to be younger, more educated and had higher CD4+ T cell counts and borderline higher viral load measures than SP men. On the neuropsychological testing, SP women were more impaired in speed of information processing and verbal fluency and had a higher mean GDS than SN women. Compared to SP men, SP women were also more impaired in speed of information processing and verbal fluency as well as on tests of learning and memory. Numbers of circulating monocytes and plasma sCD14 and sCD163 levels were significantly higher for all SP versus all SN individuals and were also higher for SP women and for SP men versus their SN counterparts. Among SP women, soluble CD14 levels were slightly higher than for SP men, and SP women had higher viral load measurements and were more likely to have detectable virus than SP men. Higher sCD14 levels among SP women correlated with more severe global impairment, and higher viral load measurements correlated with higher monocyte numbers and sCD14 and sCD14 levels, associations that were not observed for SP men. These studies suggest that the risk of developing NCI differ for HIV infected women and men in Nigeria and, for women, may be linked to effects from higher plasma levels of HIV driving activation of circulating monocytes.