Neuropsychological characteristics of people living with asyntomatic HIV: cross-sectional study


  • Natalia Cortés Corona UNAM
  • Ma Guillermina Yáñez Téllez
  • Belén Prieto Corona
  • Edgar Landa Ramírez



asymptomatic HIV, HAND, neuropsychological assessment


Introduction: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infects macrophages, microglia and astrocytes producing inflammation, damage and neuronal death; which can cause HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder. Methods: A group of 30 HIV patients with adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) underwent a battery of tests to assess attention, memory, visuospatial skills, executive functions (working memory, processing speed, verbal fluency, planning and abstraction), mood (depressive and anxious symptomatology) and daily functioning. Results: 30% of the patients presented characteristics of asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment and 10% presented minor neurocognitive disorder. In mood, 83.3% of the patients presented depressive symptomatology and 66.6% presented anxious symptomatology. Negative and positive correlations were found between cognitive abilities and serological variables. Discussion: Cognitive impairment with subtle failures derived from HIV infection in the central nervous system is present in patients despite adherence to ART. While viral load remains undetectable, mild cognitive impairment is possible. When there is a decrease in CD4 cells, impairment may also occur. The presence of depressive and anxious symptomatology is frequent in HIV, so a neuropsychological intervention focused on mood is important in these patients. Conclusion: We emphasize the need for comprehensive care in patients with HIV that favors adherence to ART, neuropsychological and mood assessment and intervention.


Rojas-Celis V, Valiente-Echeverría F, Soto-Rifo R, Toro-Ascuy D. New Challenges of HIV-1 Infection: How HIV-1 Attacks and Resides in the Central Nervous System. Cell. 2019;8(10):1245. doi:10.3390/cells8101245 DOI:

Arentoft A, Troxell K, Alvarez K, et al. HIV Antiretroviral Medication Neuropenetrance and Neurocognitive Outcomes in HIV+ Adults: A Review of the Literature Examining the Central Nervous System Penetration Effectiveness Score. Viruses. 2022;14(6):1151.

doi:10.3390/v14061151 DOI:

Corley MJ, Sacdalan C, Pang APS, Chomchey N, Ratnaratorn N, Valcour V, Kroon E, Cho KS, Belden AC, Colby D, Robb M, Hsu D, Spudich S, Paul R, Vasan S, Ndhlovu LC; SEARCH010/RV254 and SEARCH013/RV304 study groups. Abrupt and altered cell-type specific DNA methylation profiles in blood during acute HIV infection persists despite prompt initiation of ART. PLoS Pathog. 2021;17(8):e1009785. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1009785. DOI:

Parekh BS, Ou CY, Fonjungo PN, Kalou MB, Rottinghaus E, Puren A, Alexander H, Hurlston Cox M, Nkengasong JN. Diagnosis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2018;32(1):e00064-18. doi: 10.1128/CMR.00064-18. DOI:

Underwood J, Winston A. Guidelines for Evaluation and Management of Cognitive Disorders in HIV-Positive Individuals. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2016;13(5):235–240. doi:10.1007/s11904-016-0324-x DOI:

Antinori A, Arendt G, Becker JT, Brew BJ, Byrd DA, Cherner M, Clifford DB, Cinque P, Epstein LG, Goodkin K, Gisslen M, Grant I, Heaton RK, Joseph J, Marder K, Marra CM, McArthur JC, Nunn M, Price RW, Pulliam L, Wojna VE. Updated research nosology for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Neurol. 2007;69(18):1789–1799.

doi:10.1212/01.WNL.0000287431.88658.8b DOI:

Kimani RW. Assessment and Diagnosis of HIV-Associated Dementia. JNP. 2018;14(3):190–195. doi:10.1016/j.nurpra.2017.12.031 DOI:

Grupo de expertos del Grupo de Estudio de Sida (GeSIDA). Documento de consenso sobre el manejo clínico de los trastornos neurocognitivos asociados a la infección por el virus de la inmunodeficiencia humana. Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2014;32(1):37-47. doi:10.1016/j.eimc.2013.03.005 DOI:

Cornea A, Lata I, Simu M, Rosca EC. Assessment and Diagnosis of HIV-Associated Dementia. Viruses. 2023;28: 15(2):378. doi:10.3390/v15020378. DOI:

Agarwal R, Aujla RS, Gupta A, Kumar M. Determining the Neurocognitive Status and the Functional Ability of Patients to Screen for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND). Dement Neurocogn Disord. 2020;19:19-27. doi:10.12779/dnd.2020.19.1.19 DOI:

Forno G, Henríquez F, Ceballos ME, González M, Schröder J, et al. Neurological soft signs (NSS) and cognitive deficits in HIV associated neurocognitive disorder. Neuropsychol. 2020;146. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2020.107545 DOI:

Nakao A, Yamanouchi J, Takenaka K, Takada K. The Iowa Gambling Task on HIV-infected subjects. J Infect Chemother. 2020;26:240- 244. doi:10.1016/j.jiac.2019.09.008 DOI:

Yousuf A, Musa R, Isa MLM, Arifin SRM. Anxiety and Depression Among Women Living with HIV: Prevalence and Correlations. Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2020;16:59-66. doi:10.2174/1745017902016010059 DOI:

Liu X, Wang H, Zhu Z, et al. Exploring bridge symptoms in HIV-positive people with comorbid depressive and anxiety disorders. BMC Psychiatry. 2022;22(1):448. doi:10.1186/s12888-022-04088-7 DOI:

Camara A, Sow MS, Touré A, et al. Anxiety and depression among HIV patients of the infectious disease department of Conakry University Hospital in 2018. Epidemiol Infect. 2020;148:e8. doi:10.1017/S095026881900222X DOI:

Setia MS. Methodology Series Module 3: Cross-sectional Studies. Indian J Dermatol. 2016;61(3):261-264. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.182410. DOI:

Peña J. Normalidad, semiología y patología neuropsicológicas. Programa Integrado de Exploración Neuropsicológica. Test Barcelona. Barcelona: Masson; 1991.

Golden CJ. STROOP Test de Colores y Palabras. Madrid: TEA; 2001.

Ostrosky F, Gómez ME, Matute E, Rosselli M, Ardila A, Pineda D. NEUROPSI Atención y Memoria. CDMX: Manual Moderno; 1997.

Wechsler D. Escala de Inteligencia de Wechsler para adultos (WAIS-IV). CDMX: Manual Moderno; 2010.

Wilson BA, Alderman N, Burgess P, Emslie H, Evans J. Behavioural Assessment of the Dysexecutive Syndrome (BADS). Inglaterra: Pearson; 1999.

Diez C, Rangil T, Sanchez L, Kroenke K, Spitzer RL. Validation and utility of the patient health questionnaire in diagnosing mental disorders in 1003 general hospital Spanish inpatients. Psychosom Med. 2001;63(4):679–686. doi:10.1097/00006842-200107000-00021 DOI:

García J, Zamorano E, Ruiz MA, Pardo A, Pérez M, López V, Freire O, Rejas J. Cultural adaptation into Spanish of the generalized anxiety disorder-7 (GAD-7) scale as a screening tool. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2010;8:8. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-8-8 DOI:

Muñoz C, López OL, Riveros R, Núñez J, Flores P, Slachevsky A. The technology - activities of daily living questionnaire: a version with a technology-related subscale. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2012;33:361-371. doi:10.1159/000338606. DOI:

Costaggiu D, Pinna E, Serchisu L, Barcellona D, Piano P, et al. The Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status as a screening strategy for HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders. AIDS Care. 2021;33(3):357-363. doi:10.1080/09540121.2020.1742859 DOI:

Métral M, Darling K, Locatelli I, Nadin I, Santos G, et al. The Neurocognitive Assessment in the Metabolic and Aging Cohort (NAMACO) study: baseline participant profile. HIV Med. 2019;21(1):30-42. doi:10.1111/hiv.12795 DOI:

Zaegel-Faucher O, Laroche H, Tixier M, Morisseau V, Obry-Roguet V, et al. Is the use of the QPC cognitive complaints questionnaire relevant for the screening strategy of HIV-Associated neurocognitive disorders? AIDS Care. 2021;33(3):389-397.doi:10.1080/09540121.2020.1738008 DOI:

Farhadian SF, Lindenbaum O, Zhao J, Corley MJ, Im Y, Walsh H, Vecchio A, Garcia-Milian R, Chiarella J, Chintanaphol M, Calvi R, Wang G, Ndhlovu LC, Yoon J, Trotta D, Ma S, Kluger Y, Spudich S. HIV viral transcription and immune perturbations in the CNS of people with HIV despite ART. JCI insight. 2022;7(13):e160267. doi:10.1172/jci.insight.160267 DOI:

Wang Y, Liu M, Lu Q, Farrell M, Lappin JM, Shi J, Lu L, Bao Y. Global prevalence and burden of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder: A meta-analysis. Neurol. 2020;95(19):e2610–e2621. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000010752 DOI:

Kartikeyan S, Bharmal RN, Tiwari RP, Bisen PS. HIV and AIDS: Basic Elements and Priorities. Netherlands: Springer; 2007. DOI:

Hackshaw A. Small studies: strengths and limitations. Eur Respir J. 2008;32(5):1141-3. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00136408. DOI:

Cucherat M, Laporte S, Delaitre O, Behier JM; participants of Giens XXXV Round Table Clinical Research; d'Andon A, Binlich F, Bureau S, Cornu C, Fouret C, Hoog Labouret N, Laviolle B, Miadi-Fargier H, Paoletti X, Roustit M, Simon T, Varoqueaux N, Vicaut E, Westerloppe J. From single-arm studies to externally controlled studies. Methodological considerations and guidelines. Therapie. 2020;75(1):21-27. doi: 10.1016/j.therap.2019.11.007. DOI:



How to Cite

Cortés Corona, N., Yáñez Téllez, M. G., Prieto Corona, B., & Landa Ramírez, E. (2023). Neuropsychological characteristics of people living with asyntomatic HIV: cross-sectional study. Archivos De Neurociencias, 1(Inpress).



Original Articles