HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorder (HAND): Relative Risk Factors

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This chapter will address the issue of risk for HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder (HAND), focusing on HIV-associated dementia (HAD), among persons living with HIV in relationship to the risk for other dementias. Advances in effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) have led to an increase in the prevalence of older persons surviving with HIV – in addition to older persons who become infected by HIV later in life. Hence, HIV is no longer a disease of younger persons, and additional attention has been brought to bear against the plight of older persons living with HIV – not only as it pertains to treatment but also to prevention. The additional risk caused by aging among older persons living with HIV is complex to asses, and HIV infection is a research area that requires a robust approach to multiple other factors causing neurocognitive impairment with older age. The long-term and potentially neurotoxic exposure to ART and the deleterious consequences of chronic infection with HIV and its associated neuro-inflammation have been described for health. This aids in the understanding of dementia risk factors in this patient population, but the comorbidities (HIV- and non-HIV-associated) occurring among older persons living with HIV must also be addressed to properly assess the overall impact on dementia risk in this group. This need also warrants our examination of the risk factors for other dementias (and comorbid dementias) in persons living with HIV versus the general population through the assessment and quantification of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors identified as major contributors toward dementia.