Associations between Antiretrovirals and Cognitive Function in Women with HIV

Leah H. Rubin, Yuliang Li, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Raha Dastgheyb, Amanda B. Spence, Pauline M. Maki, Anjali Sharma, Deborah R. Gustafson, Joel Milam, Kathleen M. Weber, Adaora A. Adimora, Norman J. Haughey, Igho Ofotokun, Margaret A. Fischl, Deborah Konkle-Parker, Yanxun Xu, Dionna W. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cognitive complications persist in antiretroviral therapy(ART)-treated people with HIV. However, the pattern and severity of domain-specific cognitive performance is variable and may be exacerbated by ART-mediated neurotoxicity. 929 women with HIV(WWH) from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study who were classified into subgroups based on sociodemographic and longitudinal behavioral and clinical data using semi-parametric latent class trajectory modelling. Five subgroups were comprised of: 1) well-controlled HIV with vascular comorbidities(n = 116); 2) profound HIV legacy effects(CD4 nadir <250 cells/μL; n = 275); 3) primarily <45 year olds with hepatitis C(n = 165); 4) primarily 35–55 year olds(n = 244), and 5) poorly-controlled HIV/substance use(n = 129). Within each subgroup, we fitted a constrained continuation ratio model via penalized maximum likelihood to examine adjusted associations between recent ART agents and cognition. Most drugs were not associated with cognition. However, among the few drugs, non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTIs) and protease inhibitors(PIs) were most commonly associated with cognition, followed by nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors(NRTIs) and integrase inhibitors(IIs). Directionality of ART-cognition associations varied by subgroup. Better psychomotor speed and fluency were associated with ART for women with well-controlled HIV with vascular comorbidities. This pattern contrasts women with profound HIV legacy effects for whom poorer executive function and fluency were associated with ART. Motor function was associated with ART for younger WWH and primarily 35–55 year olds. Memory was associated with ART only for women with poorly-controlled HIV/substance abuse. Findings demonstrate interindividual variability in ART-cognition associations among WWH and highlight the importance of considering sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral factors as an underlying contributors to cognition. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Antiretrovirals
  • Cognition
  • HIV
  • Heterogeneity
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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