The Association of Memory Disorders and Chronic HIV Disease in the Antiretroviral Therapy Era

A Systematic Literature Review

E Ripamonti; M Clerici


HIV Medicine. 2020;21(1):9-20. 

In This Article


Eligibility Criteria

We considered descriptive or observational studies (cross-sectional, cohort, case–control and hybrid designs; prospective or retrospective) involving patients with HIV infection prescribed with ART. To be eligible for this review, a study must have (1) included adult patients (aged > 18 years) living with HIV and prescribed with; (2) considered memory function as a target or as a specific study outcome; (3) recorded information on memory function in terms of the raw or standardized score obtained on one or more neuropsychological tests. Studies listing more than one neuropsychological outcome or investigating drugs in addition to ART as therapy were also eligible in principle, provided that they included ART and memory function. Animal studies and paediatric studies were not included, but were separately considered if they provided results relevant to the discussion of memory function in HIV infection.

Information Sources

We systematically searched the PubMed database for papers published between 1 January 2000 and 30 June 2018, combining the MeSH terms HIV + memory, AIDS + memory, ART + memory, HIV + cognition, and AIDS + cognition. We examined pertinent papers cited in the references of selected original research papers, book chapters, relevant reviews and papers reporting the results of meta-analyses, and we completed the retrieval of information by searching using the same keywords in Google Scholar. Only original papers published in English were considered. Two blinded reviewers (ER and MC) searched for papers eligible for inclusion in the present review by screening the titles and abstracts.

Data Collection and Reporting

Information regarding the general setting, study design, sample size, follow-up duration, demographic characteristics of participants and neuropsychological testing was extracted from each paper. Selected baseline covariates included age, gender, duration of HIV infection, nadir and current CD4 cell count, CD8 cell count, viral load, duration of ART, presence of infections other than HIV infection, such as hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and presence of other medical conditions. Results of the neuropsychological evaluation of memory presented as raw or standardized scores were extracted from each paper. The study was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.[8] A PRISMA checklist is provided as Data S1.