HIV-infected women may be particularly vulnerable to certain types of neurocognitive impairments which may be exacerbated by aging and other predictors. Within the context of cognitive reserve, this article examines issues surrounding women as they age with HIV. For this, a review of 12 recent studies (2013-2016) using data from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), the largest cohort study comparing HIV-infected and demographically matched uninfected women, is presented that specifically examines neurocognition. In general, HIV-infected women are more vulnerable to developing neurocognitive impairments than uninfected women; other factors that may contribute to these neurocognitive impairments include recent illicit drug use, reading level (educational quality/cognitive reserve), stress, PTSD, insulin resistance, liver fibrosis, and age. Surprisingly, when examined in some analyses, age × HIV interactions were not observed to impact neurocognitive performance, findings largely consistent in the literature; however, longitudinal analyses of these data have yet to be performed which may yield future insights of how cognitive reserve may be compromised over time. Yet, with insulin resistance, liver fibrosis, stress, and other known predictors of poorer neurocognition also occurring more with advanced age, in time, the synergistic effect of age and HIV may be more robust and observable as this population ages.
Aging and Neurocognitive Functioning in HIV-Infected Women: a Review of the Literature Involving the Women’s Interagency HIV Study.