Individuals who start HIV treatment very soon after contracting the virus may be at lesser risk of later developing cognitive decline than other HIV-positive individuals. Publishing their findings in the journal AIDS, researchers conducted a cross-sectional observational study of 26 males living with HIV who started antiretroviral (ARV) treatment during primary infection, had an undetectable viral load, and did not have certain neuropsychiatric conditions.

HIV-positive people, on average, have a higher risk of cognitive decline than the general population.

The mean age of the men in this study was 43. They had a median CD4 count of 828, a median lowest-ever CD4 count of 359, and had been on ARVs for a median 5.7 years.

Only one of the participants, or 4 percent of the total, had cognitive impairment.

The researchers concluded that early HIV treatment may help protect against HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders.

To read the study abstract, click here.