As more effective antiretroviral therapy has evolved over the past 30 years, HIV/AIDS has shifted from an acute to a chronic condition. But as patients live longer, research indicates that they are experiencing cognitive impairments at a higher rate than people without the disease.
A new study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, published online Oct. 15, 2012 in the Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, shows that cognitive training exercises can help — improving mental processing speed and the ability to complete daily tasks in middle-age and older adults with HIV.
“Today, more than 25 percent of people living with HIV in the United States are older than 50,” says the study’s lead author, David Vance, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB School of Nursing, associate director of the UAB Center for Nursing Research and scientist in the UAB Edward R. Roybal Center for Research on Applied Gerontology. “Thirty to 60 percent of adults living with HIV experience cognitive problems at some point in the illness, a condition known as ‘HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.’ It’s imperative for people with HIV and their treatment teams be proactive in addressing cognitive problems as they emerge, because without treatment these issues — which mimic premature aging — can lead to difficulties in working and living independently.”
- Popular HIV drug may cause memory declines (sciencedaily.com)
- Study: Brain exercises work to improve mental function in HIV/AIDS patients (al.com)
- Alarming increase in number of HIV cases (smh.com.au)
- Complacency blamed for HIV increase (bigpondnews.com)