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Sex Differences in HIV-associated Cognitive Impairment

AIDS; ePub 2018 Oct 4; Sundermann, et al

Women were at greater risk of HIV-associated cognitive impairment compared to men, a recent study found. The observational cohort study included 1,361 HIV-positive (204 women) and 702 HIV-negative (214 women) participants aged 18‒79 years from the UCSD HIV Neurobehavioral Research Program. Demographically-corrected standardized T-scores from 15 neuropsychological tests were used to calculate domain-specific and global deficit scores. Researchers found:

  • HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment was more prevalent in women vs men.
  • The association between HIV-seropositivity and higher likelihood of neurocognitive impairment was stronger in women vs men.
  • These results were specific to black women.
  • Higher rates of HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment in women vs men may reflect differences in educational quality.


Sundermann EE, Heaton RK, Pasipanodya E, et al. Sex differences in HIV-associated cognitive impairment: An observational cohort study. [Published online ahead of print October 4, 2018]. AIDS. doi:10.1097/QAD.0000000000002012.