Prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study

Neurology. 2016 Jan 26;86(4):334-40. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002277. Epub 2015 Dec 30.


Objective: To evaluate the frequency of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) in HIV+ individuals and determine whether the frequency of HAND changed over 4 years of follow-up.

Methods: The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) is a prospective study of gay/bisexual men. Beginning in 2007, all MACS participants received a full neuropsychological test battery and functional assessments every 2 years to allow for HAND classification.

Results: The frequency of HAND for the 364 HIV+ individuals seen in 2007-2008 was 33% and for the 197 HIV+ individuals seen at all time periods during the 2007-2008, 2009-2010, and 2011-2012 periods were 25%, 25%, and 31%, respectively. The overall frequency of HAND increased from 2009-2010 to 2011-2012 (p = 0.048). Over the 4-year study, 77% of the 197 HIV+ individuals remained at their same stage, with 13% showing deterioration and 10% showing improvement in HAND stage. Hypercholesterolemia was associated with HAND progression. A diagnosis of asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of symptomatic HAND compared to a diagnosis of normal cognition.

Conclusion: HAND remains common in HIV+ individuals. However, for the majority of HIV+ individuals on combination antiretroviral therapy with systemic virologic suppression, the diagnosis of HAND is not a progressive condition over 4 years of follow-up. Future studies should evaluate longitudinal changes in HAND and specific neurocognitive domains over a longer time period.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex / diagnosis*
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / drug therapy
  • AIDS Dementia Complex / epidemiology*
  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active
  • Comorbidity
  • Disease Progression*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index*