Original Research

The association between asymptomatic and mild neurocognitive impairment and adherence to antiretroviral therapy among people living with human immunodeficiency virus

Violet Awori, Peter Mativo, Gerald Yonga, Reena C. Shah
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 19, No 1 | a674 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v19i1.674 | © 2018 Violet Awori, Peter Mativo, Gerald Yonga, Reena C. Shah | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 August 2016 | Published: 12 April 2018

About the author(s)

Violet Awori, Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Kenya
Peter Mativo, Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Kenya
Gerald Yonga, Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Kenya
Reena C. Shah, Department of Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Kenya

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Background: Asymptomatic cognitive impairment in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients has recently been recognised as part of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. This has been implicated as one of the causes of poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Objective: To assess the association between neurocognitive impairment (asymptomatic and mild forms) and adherence to ART.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey involving 218 participants consecutively sampled from those attending the HIV treatment clinic at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. Data collected included quantitative primary data on pre-defined baseline characteristics, neurocognitive assessment by Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) tool (Appendix 1), instrumental activities of daily living by Lawton score and objective and subjective adherence measures by medication possession ratio (MPR) and simplified medication adherence questionnaire (SMAQ) (see Appendix 2). Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to determine the strengths of association between predictor and the outcome variables.

Results: Among the 218 participants in the study, a total of 69% had asymptomatic to mild neurocognitive impairment as assessed by the MoCA tool, while a total of 66% were determined as being adherent to ART by objective measures (by MPR) compared to subjective rates of 77% as assessed by SMAQ. However, no statistically significant association was observed between the presence of asymptomatic or mild neurocognitive impairment and likelihood of adherence to ART (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Even though asymptomatic and mild forms of cognitive impairment are prevalent in the population studied, there was no significant association between cognitive impairment and adherence to treatment.


Neurocognition; HIV


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Crossref Citations

1. Neurocognitive Impairment and Associated Factors Among People Living with HIV: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of African Studies
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