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Baseline Neurocognitive Functioning Predicts Viral Load Suppression at 1-Year Follow-Up Among Newly Diagnosed HIV Infected Patients


The current prospective observational study evaluated the impact of baseline neurocognitive impairment on future viral load suppression among antiretroviral medication naive persons newly diagnosed with HIV infection. We used the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) score less than 26, to identify patients with neurocognitive deficits. Of the 138 patients enrolled; virologic suppression was seen in 61% of the participants, while 72% of the participants had a MoCA score less than 26 at baseline. Variables significantly associated with low MoCA score included higher age (p < 0.01) and presence of depression (p < 0.01). After adjusting for these variables, MoCA score less than 26 was significantly associated with a higher risk of failing achieve viral load suppression (adjusted OR 2.7; 95% CI 1.09–6.69). Baseline neurocognitive deficit as measured by MoCA was associated with a higher risk for failing to achieve viral load suppression at one-year follow-up.

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This study was by the Baylor–UT Houston Center for AIDS Research Core Support Grant number AI36211 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

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Correspondence to Lokesh Shahani.

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Lokesh Shahani, Lucrecia Salazar, Steven P Woods, and Rodrigo Hasbun declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Shahani, L., Salazar, L., Woods, S.P. et al. Baseline Neurocognitive Functioning Predicts Viral Load Suppression at 1-Year Follow-Up Among Newly Diagnosed HIV Infected Patients. AIDS Behav 22, 3209–3213 (2018).

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  • HIV
  • Neurocognitive impairment
  • Viral load suppression
  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment
  • Treatment failure