Screening for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HANDs) in South Africa: A caution against uncritical use of comparative data from other developing countries

Charles Van Wijk
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 14, No 1 | a97 | DOI: | © 2013 Charles Van Wijk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 December 2013 | Published: 26 February 2013

About the author(s)

Charles Van Wijk, Private practice, Simon's Town, South Africa


The prevalence of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders necessitates community-based screening. In recent years, progress has been made in developing more localised comparative data for use in such screening on the African continent. These studies used measurements that are considered fair, easily accessible, and quick to administer. However, the variance in available international data limits their usefulness and poses a risk to the appropriate streaming of individuals. Here, examples are presented of variance in both cross-national and local demographic screening and neuropsychological test scores, with the aim of cautioning practitioners against undue reliance on general African data for classification of individuals. Recommendations are provided for the development of appropriate norms, specific to local communities.

S Afr J HIV Med 2013;14(1):17-19. DOI:10.7196/SAJHIVMED.855


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