Changing clinical phenotypes of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders

Ned Sacktor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND) remains a common cause of cognitive impairment and persists in 15–55% of HIV+ individuals in the combination antiretroviral therapy (CART) era. CART is now the primary treatment for HAND, but it is effective in only a subset of patients. In the pre-CART era, HIV-associated dementia was the most common form of HAND. However, in CART-treated patients, the prevalence of HIV-associated dementia has declined substantially, and milder stages of HAND, i.e., ANI and MND predominate. HIV+ patients with mild neurocognitive disorder (MND) can still have significant functional impairment in some activities of daily living. There have been several other significant changes in the clinical features of HAND in the CART era. The mean survival for an individual diagnosed with HIV dementia has increased dramatically. In HIV+ individuals on CART with a suppressed systemic viral load, the majority of individuals with HAND remain stable, with a small proportion showing deterioration. Extrapyramidal signs are now less common in patients with HAND on CART. In the CART era, HAND may have a mixed pattern of both cortical and subcortical features with greater deficits in executive functioning and working memory. Despite the milder clinical phenotype, in the CART era, patients with HAND still have persistent laboratory and neuroimaging abnormalities in the central nervous system even with systemic viral suppression. As the HIV+ patient population ages, cerebrovascular disease risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia are increasingly recognized as risk factors for cognitive impairment in HIV+ patients on CART. HAND remains a common neurological condition globally in the CART era, necessitating the need for new animal models to examine pathogenesis and potential treatments for HAND.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 27 2018


  • Cognitive disorder
  • Dementia
  • HIV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology


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