Neuropsychological Assessment of HIV-Infected Populations in International Settings

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Abstract

Resource-limited regions of the world represent the areas most affected by the global HIV epidemic. Currently, there are insufficient data on the neurocognitive effects of HIV in these areas and neuropsychological studies that have been carried out thus far are marked by inconsistent methods, test batteries, and rating systems for levels of cognitive impairment. These differences in methods, along with genetic variability of both virus and host, differences in co-infections and other co-morbidities, differences in language and culture, and infrastructural deficiencies in many international settings create challenges to the assessment of neurocognitive functioning and interpretation of neuropsychological data. Identifying neurocognitive impairment directly attributable to HIV, exploring relationships between HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment, disease variables, and everyday functioning, evaluating differences in HIV-1 subtype associated neuropathology, and determining implications for treatment remain complicated and challenging goals. Endeavors to establish a more standardized approach to neurocognitive assessments across international studies in addition to accumulating appropriate normative data that will allow more accurate rating of neuropsychological test performance will be crucial to future efforts attempting to achieve these goals.

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