Cognitive Neuropsychology of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders

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Abstract

Advances in the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have dramatically improved survival rates over the past 10 years, but HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain highly prevalent and continue to represent a significant public health problem. This review provides an update on the nature, extent, and diagnosis of HAND. Particular emphasis is placed on critically evaluating research within the realm of cognitive neuropsychology that aims to elucidate the component processes of HAND across the domains of executive functions, motor skills, speeded information processing, episodic memory, attention/working memory, language, and visuoperception. In addition to clarifying the cognitive mechanisms of HAND (e.g., impaired cognitive control), the cognitive neuropsychology approach may enhance the ecological validity of neuroAIDS research and inform the development of much needed novel, targeted cognitive and behavioral therapies.

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