Possible Complications

HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) place a significant burden on the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH), substantially affecting quality of life and increasing mortality risk by over three-fold compared with those without a neurological disorder.1 

HAND can have several consequences:

  • decreased adherence to medication2
  • impaired driving3
  • difficulty with activities of daily living, such as finances and meal preparation
  • employment challenges4:
    • five times more likely to complain of problems at work
    • twice as likely to be unemployed
  • shorter survival5


  1. Vivithanaporn P, Heo G, Gamble J, et al. Neurologic disease burden in treated HIV/AIDS predicts survival: a population-based study. Neurology. 2010;75:1150–1158.
  2. Woods SP, Moran LM, Carey CL, et al. Prospective memory in HIV infection: is “remembering to remember” a unique predictor of self-reported medication management? Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2008;23:257–270.
  3. Marcotte TD, Lazzaretto D, Scott JC, et al. Visual attention deficits are associated with driving accidents in cognitively-impaired HIV-infected individuals. J Clin Exp Neuropsychol. 2006;28:13–28.
  4. Heaton RK, Velin RA, McCutchan JA, et al. Neuropsychological impairment in human immunodeficiency virus-infection: implications for employment. HNRC Group. HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center. Psychosom Med. 1994;56:8–17.
  5. Sevigny JJ, Albert SM, McDermott MP, et al. An evaluation of neurocognitive status and markers of immune activation as predictors of time to death in advanced HIV infection. Arch Neurol. 2007;64:97–102.