A large proportion of people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) suffer from neurocognitive impairment (NCI). The causes of the NCI are multifold in HIV infection although a subset of HIV/AIDS patients are affected by the spectrum syndrome, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND). We investigated the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) in relation to clinical, demographic and laboratory findings as well as its ability to predict symptomatic HAND (sHAND) among patients with HIV/AIDS.
: All subjects were receiving regular HIV care including CD4+ T cell counts, plasma viral load measurements, clinical evaluations and antiretroviral therapy. The diagnosis of sHAND was based upon clinical, neuroimaging, and neuropsychological assessments.
Among HIV-1 seropositive subjects (n=125), ethnicity, education and employment were positively correlated with their MoCA scores (p<0.05). In contrast, polypharmacy, central nervous system penetration-effectiveness (CPE) score, antiretroviral drug exposure, substance use and nucleoside/nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor side effects were negatively correlated with MoCA scores (p<0.05). Of note, MoCA scores were not associated with CD4 T cell nadir levels, age, peak viral load, or veterans aging cohort study index. In subjects with or without sHAND, mean MoCA scores differed (sHAND, 22.8±3.51; non-HAND 25.2±2.64) (p<0.05) with a receiver operating characteristic curve showing an area under curve of 0.71 and an optimal MoCA cut-off value of 23.5 when compared to the established diagnostic paradigm.
MoCA scores were generally lower in this HIV/AIDS population compared to reported scores in the general population. MoCA performance was associated with multiple clinical variables but displayed limited predictive utility in detecting sHAND.