Studies Examine HIV Dementia in Sub-Saharan Africa, CDC’s HIV Prevention Budget
The following highlights recently released studies on HIV/AIDS.
- "Frequency of and Risk Factors for HIV Dementia in an HIV Clinic in Sub-Saharan Africa," Neurology: Ned Sacktor, a neurologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted the study among 178 people in Kampala, Uganda, from September 2003 to January 2004, Xinhuanet reports. Seventy-eight of the participants were HIV-positive and 100 were HIV-negative (Xinhuanet, 1/30). The study found that 31% of participants in the HIV-positive group, or about 25 people, had HIV dementia, while none of the HIV-negative participants had the condition (Fox, Reuters South Africa, 1/29). Researchers characterized HIV dementia as memory, learning, behavioral and motor disabilities that interfere with daily activities and could lead to incapacitation. They diagnosed the dementia by examining participants' medical histories, as well as the results of a series of comprehensive neurological and neuropsychological tests and functional assessments, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 1/30). "If the rate we saw in our study translates across sub-Saharan Africa, we're looking at more than eight million people in this region with HIV dementia," Sacktor said (Reuters South Africa, 1/29). According to researchers, HIV dementia can be treated and potentially reversed with the same antiretroviral drugs used to treat the virus, and treatment can sometimes restore normal cognitive function, Xinhuanet reports (Xinhuanet, 1/30).
- "HIV Incidence and CDC's HIV Prevention Budget: An Exploratory Correlational Analysis," American Journal of Preventive Medicine: David Holtgrave of Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health and Jennifer Kates of the Kaiser Family Foundation examined the relationship between CDC's HIV prevention budget and HIV incidence in the U.S. from 1978 to 2006. The study found that from the beginning of the epidemic to 1985, when new HIV cases peaked in the U.S., HIV incidence predicted levels of investment. During this period, increased amounts of funding were allocated to HIV prevention programs as new HIV cases increased each year. From the mid-1980s, the level of investment predicted incidence, the study found. During this period, the U.S. continued to increase funding for HIV prevention programs, and the number of new cases decreased from 160,000 annually to about 40,000 annually, according to the study. In the early 1990s, as the level of investment leveled out, so did the number of new annual HIV cases, the study found. "Our analysis helps explain why the number of new HIV infections has remained at 40,000 per year for over 15 years," Holtgrave said, adding, "Investment levels have predicted HIV incidence since the mid-1980s. If we want to lower infections further in the U.S., these analyses suggest we should consider increasing our national investment" in HIV prevention programs. Holtgrave said that because the study is based on historical data, it is subject to methodological limitations (JHSPH release, 1/31).