Post-traumatic stress is associated with verbal learning, memory, and psychomotor speed in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected women

Leah H. Rubin*, Maria Pyra, Judith A. Cook, Kathleen M. Weber, Mardge H. Cohen, Eileen Martin, Victor Valcour, Joel Milam, Kathryn Anastos, Mary A. Young, Christine Alden, Deborah R. Gustafson, Pauline M. Maki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher among HIV-infected (HIV+) women compared with HIV-uninfected (HIV−) women, and deficits in episodic memory are a common feature of both PTSD and HIV infection. We investigated the association between a probable PTSD diagnosis using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C) version and verbal learning and memory using the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test in 1004 HIV+ and 496 at-risk HIV− women. HIV infection was not associated with a probable PTSD diagnosis (17 % HIV+, 16 % HIV−; p = 0.49) but was associated with lower verbal learning (p < 0.01) and memory scores (p < 0.01). Irrespective of HIV status, a probable PTSD diagnosis was associated with poorer performance in verbal learning (p < 0.01) and memory (p < 0.01) and psychomotor speed (p < 0.001). The particular pattern of cognitive correlates of probable PTSD varied depending on exposure to sexual abuse and/or violence, with exposure to either being associated with a greater number of cognitive domains and a worse cognitive profile. A statistical interaction between HIV serostatus and PTSD was observed on the fine motor skills domain (p = 0.03). Among women with probable PTSD, HIV− women performed worse than HIV+ women on fine motor skills (p = 0.01), but among women without probable PTSD, there was no significant difference in performance between the groups (p = 0.59). These findings underscore the importance of considering mental health factors as correlates to cognitive deficits in women with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-169
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • HIV
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology

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