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Antiretroviral Non-Adherence is Associated With a Retrieval Profile of Deficits in Verbal Episodic Memory.

  • Author(s): Obermeit, Lisa C
  • Morgan, Erin E
  • Casaletto, Kaitlin B
  • Grant, Igor
  • Woods, Steven Paul
  • HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program Group
  • et al.
Abstract

HIV-associated deficits in verbal episodic memory are commonly associated with antiretroviral non-adherence; however, the specific aspects of memory functioning (e.g., encoding, consolidation, or retrieval) that underlie this established relationship are not well understood. This study evaluated verbal memory profiles of 202 HIV+ participants who underwent a 30-day electronic monitoring of antiretroviral adherence. At the group level, non-adherence was significantly associated with lower scores on immediate and delayed passage recall and word list learning. Retention and recognition of passages and word lists were not related to adherence. Participants were then classified as having either a normal verbal memory profile, a "subcortical" retrieval profile (i.e., impaired free recall with relatively spared recognition), or a "cortical" encoding profile (e.g., cued recall intrusions) based on the Massman et al. ( 1990 ) algorithm for the California Verbal Learning Test. HIV+ participants with a classic retrieval deficit had significantly greater odds of being non-adherent than participants with a normal or encoding profile. These findings suggest that adherence to prescribed antiretroviral regimens may be particularly vulnerable to disruption in HIV+ individuals due to deficits in the complex process of efficiently accessing verbal episodic information with minimal cues. A stronger relationship between non-adherence and passage (vs. word list) recall was also found and may reflect the importance of contextual features in remembering to take medications. Targeted interventions for enhancing and supporting episodic memory retrieval processes may improve antiretroviral adherence and overall health outcomes among persons living with HIV.

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