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Neurocognitive functioning and HAART in HIV and hepatitis C virus co-infection

Parsons, Thomas D; Tucker, Karen A; Hall, Colin D; Robertson, Wendy T; Eron, Joseph J; Fried, Michael W; Robertson, Kevin R

doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000238404.16121.47
Basic Science: Concise Communication

Objectives: This study examined the effects of HAART on neurocognitive functioning in persons with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV co-infection.

Design: A prospective study examining neurocognitive performance before and after HAART initiation.

Method: Participant groups included a mono-infected group (45 HIV+/HCV− participants) and a co-infected group (20 HIV+/HCV+ participants). A neuropsychological battery (attention/concentration, psychomotor speed, executive functioning, verbal memory, visual memory, fine motor, and gross motor functioning) was used to evaluate all participants. After 6 months of HAART, 31 HIV+ mono-infected and 13 HCV+/HIV+ co-infected participants were reevaluated.

Results: Neurocognitive functioning by domain revealed significantly worse performance in the co-infected group when compared to the monoinfected group on domains of visual memory and fine motor functioning. Assessment of neurocognitive functioning after antiretroviral therapy revealed that the co-infected group was no longer performing worse than the monoinfected group.

Conclusions: The findings of the current study suggest that persons with HCV+/HIV+ co-infection may have greater neurocognitive declines than persons with HIV infection alone. HCV+/HIV+ co-infection may accelerate the progression of HIV related neurocognitive decline.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Received 7 June, 2005

Accepted 9 May, 2006

Correspondence to T. D. Parsons, Department of Neurology, CB # 7025, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, 3114 Bioinformatics Building, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7025, USA. Tel: +1 919 966 8172; fax: +1 919 966 2922; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.