Neurocognitive complaints in HIV-infection and their relationship to depressive symptoms and neuropsychological functioning.
OBJECTIVE The authors examined HIV-positive subjects to determine the relationship of patient complaints of cognitive and motor dysfunction to psychiatric status and performance on established cognitive and motor function tests. METHOD HIV-positive volunteers (N = 77) were evaluated at entry into a longitudinal neurological study. Forty were asymptomatic, 29 had AIDS-related complex, and eight had AIDS. The subjects were not selected for the presence or absence of cognitive or motor complaints. Complaints of cognitive and motor dysfunction were assessed with items from the AIDS Clinical Trials Group Macro Neurologic Exam. Current depression and anxiety were assessed with the Profile of Mood States. Psychiatric status was assessed with the NIMH Diagnostic Interview Schedule, a structured interview that provides DSM-III psychiatric diagnoses. Actual cognitive and motor performance was measured with standard neuropsychological tests known to be sensitive to the effects of HIV. RESULTS Cognitive complaints were found in 38 (49%) of the subjects. These complaints were associated with psychiatric symptoms but not with cognitive performance. Motor complaints, found in 12 (16%) of the subjects, were associated with poorer motor performance but not with psychiatric symptoms. The overall frequency of psychiatric diagnosis was high. CONCLUSIONS Self-reports of cognitive and motor dysfunction were common in this unselected group and are of concern to health care providers. Potentially treatable psychiatric conditions were also common, particularly in subjects with cognitive complaints, and appropriate treatment referrals are indicated. Patients who report motor dysfunction should be neurologically evaluated for treatable causes.