Robbins RN, Zimmerman R, Korich R, Raymond J, Dolezal C, Choi CJ, Leu CS, Nguyen N, Malee K, Wiznia A, Abrams EJ, Mellins CA.
AIDS Care. 2019 Jun 7:1-9. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2019.1626343. [Epub ahead of print]
There are an estimated 2.1 million youth less than 15 years of age living with HIV globally (the majority perinatally HIV-infected [PHIV]) and millions more perinatally HIV-exposed uninfected (PHEU) youth who are expected to survive through adolescence and into adulthood. Transitioning from adolescence to young adulthood requires adaptation to more demanding social interactions, academic pressures, and individual responsibilities which place distinct demands on neurocognitive functions. This study examined longitudinal trajectories of neurocognitive test performance in the domains of processing speed (PS), working memory (WM), and executive functioning (EF) among PHIV and demographically similar PHEU from adolescence through young adulthood. Data for this paper come from four time points, spanning approximately 10 years, within the Child and Adolescent Self-Awareness and Health Study (CASAH). Youth age ranged from 15 to 29 years. Longitudinal linear mixed effect models were computed for each test. Few differences in performance were found on tests of EF and WM between PHIV and PHEU youth as they aged, though PHEU youth showed significantly better PS as they aged than PHIV youth. Future research is needed to understand these vulnerable youth’s neurocognitive trajectories as a function of HIV infection and -exposure, biological functions and psychosocial stressors.