Background: The risk for psychiatric and neurocognitive disorders among middle-aged and older individuals with HIV infection has not been well characterized.
Methods: The Veterans Aging Cohort 5-Site Study enrolled 1803 patients (1047 HIV-positive) from VA infectious disease and general medicine clinics from September 2001 to June 2002. A convenience subset of 10 patients from each site (n = 50) was consented for formal neurocognitive and psychiatric (NCP) testing. Data from this subset were linked to the larger sample.
Results: Kappa scores for agreement beyond chance were fair for available measures when compared with formal NCP testing. Using available measures, depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 and provider reported), alcohol abuse or dependence (ICD-9 codes), and drug abuse or dependence (DAST-10) decreased with age in HIV-negative subjects (P trend <0.05) but did not among HIV-positive subjects (P > 0.05). HIV-positive subjects demonstrated higher prevalence of these conditions with increasing age when compared to HIV-negative subjects. Patient report of memory problems increased with age among both groups after excluding those reporting symptoms of depression (PHQ-9e > or = 10).
Conclusion: Available measures were no substitute for formal NCP testing. Older HIV-positive veterans demonstrate greater prevalence of depressive symptoms, alcohol abuse or dependence, and drug abuse or dependence than age-matched, HIV-negative veterans. Both groups reported increased memory problems with advancing age. This preliminary work suggests a substantial prevalence of psychiatric and neurocognitive problems among middle-aged and older HIV-infected individuals.