Cognitive Impairment Among HIV-positive Individuals in a Tertiary Infectious Disease Hospital in the Philippines


Background: Disruption of neurocognitive functioning is one of the most frequent complications in patients infected with Human immunodeficiency virus. It manifests as a form of subcortical dementia characterized by psychomotor slowing, changes in mood and anxiety levels and deficits in memory, abstraction, information processing, verbal fluency, decision-making, and attention. The primary objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of neurocognitive impairment among HIV-positive individuals in the Philippines.

Methods: This is a cross-sectional study done at the outpatient department of a tertiary infectious disease hospital located in Manila, Philippines conducted from May to July 2015. The Montreal Cognitive Assessment – Filipino (MoCA-P) was used to differentiate non-cognitively impaired and cognitively impaired participants. Demographic data was obtained using structured interviews including the CD4 count.

Results: One hundred and twelve HIV positive patients were examined and 56.7% of them were noted to have cognitive impairment while none of them met the criteria for dementia. After logistics regression analysis, only the CD4 count (x=224) was shown to have significant association with cognitive impairment (p=0.0001, OR 0.96).

Conclusion: Cognitive impairment was significantly associated with low CD4 count, with a sensitivity of 100% for a count of <224. More than half or 58.7% of subjects with cognitive impairment did not show any neuropsychiatric symptoms. Neurocognitive impairment is still an important component of HIV infection and this study highlights the need to further increase awareness regarding this HIV complication.

Key words: cognitive impairment; HIV; dementia; HAND

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