HIV and Neurocognitive Complaints


Neuropsychology is a very important field of medical science in regards to the mental and neurological condition of many patients. Neuropsychology is a specific branch of medical science which is a mixture of both neurology, which is the study of neurons and the nervous system, and psychology, which is the study of the mental and personal aspects of patients. The main purpose of neuropsychology is to understand the relationship between cognitive function and the human nervous system. One specific type is cognitive neuropsychology, which is where scientists study people who have suffered from neurological illnesses such as clinical depression, dementia, and many other kinds of illnesses. This is based on the main principle that if a cognitive problem arises after the injury of any brain tissue, it can be inferred that the brain is involved in the problem.

A neuroncognitive complaint is a problem that a patient has that deals with the neurons in the nervous system, functioning of certain areas in the body, or the cortical areas in the brain. Most of the patients that have a neurocognitive complaint have a complaint regarding problems with the nervous system. Around 10% of all AIDS patients will have a neurological complaint sometime in their lifetime. In addition, about 40% of all AIDS patients will develop major neurological symptoms during the duration of their lifetime. There are many tests that are involved in checking to see just what kind of neruocognitve complaint a patient might have.

The first test is the Patient’s Assessment of Own Functioning, otherwise known as PAOF, ) is a self-report instrument that is used to extort patients’ self perceptions regarding the sufficiency of their functioning in a variety of normal everyday activities. A patient is basically given simple activities to accomplish, usually they are given the chores that we do everyday, and from there they must complete the task fully. After they have completed the task, they must then rate how difficult the task was to complete using a 6-point scale, 6 being extremely difficult and almost impossible and 1 being extremely easy. This score is then taken and combined with the scores of other activities to see just what sort of neurocognitive complaint the patient has. This test is very useful because it can be used for testing of almost all the nerves because of the variety of tests. Because of this, it is accurate in seeing the severity of the complaint and then a treatment can be given.


-Rourke, Sean B., Mark H. Halman, and Chris Bassel. "Neurocognitive Complaints in HIV-Infection and Their Relationship to Depressive Symptoms and Neuropsychological Functioning." Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 21 (1999): 736-749

-Millikin, Colleen P., Sean B. Rourke, Mark H. Halman, and Christopher Power. "Fatigue in HIV/AIDS is Associated with Depression and Subjective Neurocognitive Complaints But Not Neuropsychological Functioning." Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 25 (2003): 200-215

-Sadek, Joseph R., Vigil Ofilio, Igor Grant, and Robert K. Heaton. "The Impact of Neuropsychological Functiong and Depressed Mood on Functional Complaints in HIV-1 Infection and Methamphetamine." Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology 29 (2007): 265-276