Mechanisms of Cognitive Aging in the HIV-Positive Adult

Curr Behav Neurosci Rep. 2017 Sep;4(3):188-197. doi: 10.1007/s40473-017-0122-9. Epub 2017 Jul 19.

Abstract

Purpose of review: As of the year 2016, an estimated 50% of the United States' HIV-Positive population is aged 50 years or older. Due to a combination of increased rates of infection in older adults, and successful anti-retroviral (ART) regimens allowing HIV-positive adults to survive for decades with the disease, we are now faced with a steadily graying HIV-positive population, with only limited knowledge of how the cognitive and physiological effects of aging intersect with those of chronic HIV-infection.

Recent findings: Age-related changes to mood, cognition, and neurological health may be experienced differently in those living with HIV, and research concerning quality of life, mental health, and cognitive aging needs to account for and explore these factors more carefully in the coming years.

Summary: This review will explore the topic of cognitive aging with HIV: 1. Central nervous system (CNS) infection of HIV and how the virus affects brain integrity and function; 2. Cognitive and behavioral symptoms of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND); 3. Neurobiological theories of Cognitive Aging and how these processes may be exacerbated by HIV-infection; 4: Clinical implications and complications of aging with HIV and factors that may result in poorer cognitive outcomes.

Keywords: Aging; Cholinergic; Dopaminergic; HIV-1; HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders.