Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Research Articles

The Effects of Age and HIV on Neuropsychological Performance

Victor Valcoura1a2a3 c1, Robert Paula4, John Neuhausa5 and Cecilia Shikumaa2

a1 Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology and Division of Geriatric Medicine/Department of Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California

a2 Hawaii Center for AIDS, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

a3 Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii

a4 Department of Psychology, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Missouri – St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

a5 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California


Both HIV and aging impact performance on neuropsychological testing; however, evidence for differences between HIV effects in younger compared to older subjects (interaction effects) is limited and the findings have been inconsistent. Coexisting morbidities that contribute to cognitive impairment in HIV include those not directly referable to infection, per se, and are more prevalent with advancing age, increasing the likelihood that HIV and age effects may be largely independent. As individuals survive with HIV into geriatric age groups, greater clarity on these relationships is essential. We present cross-sectional data from a large (n = 450) cohort designed to analyze HIV, age, and interaction effects using a well-matched cohort of HIV-negative individuals. Results reveal limited evidence for interaction effects between HIV and age on neuropsychological performance. We conclude that older age does not significantly influence neuropsychological performance among HIV patients when seronegative controls are largely composed of individuals from a similar socioeconomic background. (JINS, 2011, 17, 1–6)

(Received April 09 2010)

(Revised October 20 2010)

(Accepted October 21 2010)

(Online publication December 10 2010)


c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Victor Valcour, MD, Memory and Aging Center, Suite 905, 350 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143. E-mail: