Project

Cognition in HIV-Positive Substance Abusers

Cognition in HIV-Positive Substance Abusers

Principal Investigator: Paul, Robert
October 1, 2001 - September 30, 2002
Funder: National Institute of Drug Abuse
Official Title: Cognition in HIV-positive Substance Abusers

Approximately 30-87 percent of individuals with HIV experience cognitive difficulties. Highly active antiretroviral (HAART) medications are effective in treating the peripheral symptoms of the disease, and the benefits may extend to the central nervous system. This treatment effect may not occur in substance abusers. HIV is acquired through substance abuse in approximately 50 percent of cases, and many individuals continue to abuse drugs after learning of their HIV status. We found that women who reported a recent history of injection drug use continued to exhibit cognitive decline despite receiving HAART, while non-abusers showed significantly less decline. Cocaine increases the permeability of the blood brain barrier, impairs immunoreactivity, and increases vascular complications. The three groups will be administered a battery of cognitive measures sensitive to HIV-associated impairments. A hypothesis is that HIV-positive women who abuse cocaine will exhibit significantly poorer cognitive function compared to the other two groups.

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