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HIV, aging, and cognition: Emerging issues

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The prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder has not changed from the pre- to the potent antiretroviral therapy era, remaining at approximately 50%. In research settings, mild neurocognitive disorder (MND) and so-called asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment (ANI) are now more common than HIV-associated dementia. The diagnosis of ANI is misleading because functional deficits, when tested in a laboratory, and degree of neuropsychologic testing abnormalities are often comparable in patients with ANI and those with symptomatic MND. Age-related comorbidities increase the risk of cognitive impairment in HIV infection. In a cohort of patients aged 60 years or older with excellent antiretroviral therapy adherence, correlates to cognitive impairment were apolipoprotein (Apo) E4 genotype and a novel measure of the effectiveness of antiretroviral drugs in monocytes, the monocyte efficacy (ME) score, with trend associations for diabetes and nadir CD4+ cell count. Management of impairment includes ensuring that patients are on and adhere to antiretroviral therapy and addressing comorbidities. Switching from effective and well-tolerated antiretroviral therapy for patients with mild cognitive impairment is not routinely recommended, but this must still be addressed on a case-by-case basis. © 2013, IAS-USA.

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