HIV-associated Neurocognitive Disorder in Australia: A Case of a High-Functioning and Optimally Treated Cohort and Implications for International neuroHIV Research

J Neurovirol. 2014 Jun;20(3):258-68. doi: 10.1007/s13365-014-0242-x. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Abstract

The Australian HIV-infected (HIV+) population is largely comprised of high-functioning men who have sex with men (MSM). Like other English-speaking countries, Australia mostly relies on US neuropsychological normative standards to detect and determine the prevalence of neurological disorders. Whether the US neuropsychological (NP) normative standards are appropriate in Australian HIV+ MSM has not been established. Ninety virally suppressed HIV+ and 49 HIV-uninfected (HIV-) men (respectively 86 and 85 % self-reported MSM; mean age 54 and 56 years, mean premorbid verbal IQ estimate 110 and 111) undertook standard NP testing. The raw neuropsychological data were transformed using the following: (1) US standards as uncorrected scaled scores and demographically corrected T scores (US norms); and (2) z scores (without demographic corrections) derived from Australian comparison group scaled scores (local norms). To determine HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder prevalence, we used a standard definition of impairment based upon a battery-wide summary score: the global deficit score (GDS). Impairment classification (GDS ≥ 0.5) based on the local norms was best at discriminating between the two groups (HIV- = 14.3 % vs. HIV+ = 53.3 %; p < 0.0001). This definition was significantly associated with age. Impairment classification based on the US norms yielded much lower impairment rate regardless of the HIV status (HIV- = 4.1 % vs. HIV+ = 14.7 %; p = 0.05), but was associated with historical AIDS, and not age. Both types of summary scores were associated with reduced independence in activities of daily living (p ≤ 0.03). Accurate neuropsychological classifications of high (or low) functioning individuals may need country-specific norms that correct for performance-based (e.g., reading) estimates of premorbid cognition in addition to the traditional demographic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / classification
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / epidemiology*
  • Aging
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / classification
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / virology
  • Global Health
  • Homosexuality / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors