A study of British gay men found no differences in the prevalence or severity of neurocognitive impairment based upon HIV status, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study in 2011 and 2012 of the cognitive function of 248 HIV-positive and 45 HIV-negative gay men.

While dementia related to HIV was once highly common, in the modern era of antiretrovirals it has become rare. Nevertheless, research has suggested that perhaps as much as half of people living with the virus still experience some form of neurocognitive impairment. The findings of this research suggest that such an estimate may be exaggerated.

The participants in this study were given computer as well as pencil and paper tests to detect for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). (Naturally, those without HIV could not have disorders related to the virus, but the researchers used the same standards when detecting neurocognitive disorders in all the men.)

The HIV-positive men had a 21 percent overall prevalence of HAND. A total of 13.7 percent of the men had asymptomatic impairment, 6.5 percent had mild impairment, and 0.8 percent experienced HIV-associated dementia. The HIV-negative men had a 29 percent overall HAND prevalence. Twenty-four percent of the men were asymptomatic, while the remainder had mild cases of impairment.

Among those living with HIV, having less than a college degree was associated with 3.41-fold greater odds of having HAND when were compared with having at least a college degree. Each additional year of age, meanwhile, increased the odds of having HAND by 5 percent.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.