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Neurocognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety in HIV-1-infected patients across western Europe and Canada: the CRANIum study - ethnicity analysis

Poster Abstract – P209

Neurocognitive impairment, depression, and anxiety in HIV-1-infected patients across western Europe and Canada: the CRANIum study - ethnicity analysis

Elbirt, D1; Bayon, C2; Robertson, K3; Sambatakou, H4; McNamara, P5; Kulasegaram, R6; Schembri, G7; de Alvaro, C8; Cabrero, E8; Guion, M9; Norton, M9; Van de Steen, O10 and van Wyk, J10

1Neve Or AIDS Center, Kaplan MC Rehovot, Israel. 2Hospital La Paz, Madrid, Spain. 3University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA. 4Hippokration General Hospital, Athens, Greece. 5St. James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. 6Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, London, UK. 7Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester, UK. 8Abbott Laboratories, Madrid, Spain. 9Abbott Laboratories, Chicago, USA. 10Abbott Laboratories, Paris, France.


Purpose of the study

The prevalence of neurocognitive impairment (NCI) in people living with HIV has previously been reported between 20–50%, with prevalence rates of depression reported between 12–71%. The primary objective of the CRANIum study was to describe the prevalence of a positive screen for NCI and depression/anxiety in an HIV-1-infected adult population, comparing ARV-naïve and -experienced patients. Here we present an ethnicity analysis of the CRANIum data.


The study was an epidemiologic, cross-sectional study that included HIV-1-infected patients >18 years old attending a routine clinic visit. One-third of patients were ART-naïve, one-third on a PI/r- and one-third on a NNRTI-based regimen. The Brief Neurocognitive Screen (BNCS) was used to screen for NCI. It consists of the Digit Symbol and Trailmaking A and B tests. A standard deviation of >1 on 2 tests or >2 on 1 test was considered a positive screen for NCI. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) was used to screen for anxiety (HADS-A) and depression (HADS-D). HADS is self-administered and consists of 14 items (7 HADS-A, 7 HADS-D) scored between 0 to 3. A score of ≥8 was considered as a positive screen for either condition.

Summary of results

2859 evaluable patients were included from 15 countries. Baseline characteristics are shown in table 1 (*p <0.05 as compared with Caucasian group). Overall, 41.4% of patients had a positive screen for NCI, 33.3% for anxiety and 15.7% for depression. Results by ethnicity are shown in figure 1.

  All subjects Caucasian Black Hispanic Oriental/Asian Other
Number of subjects (%) 2859 2254 (78.8) 387 (13.5) 127 (4.4) 50 (1.7) 41 (1.4)
Age - mean, years 42.95 43.80 39.79* 38.56* 40.57* 42.96
Gender -%
  - Male 61.7 67.3 26.9* 70.1 64.0 56.1
  - Female 38.3 32.7 73.1* 29.9 36.0 43.9
  Unemployed -% 33.1 32.8 35.7 26.0 30.0 51.2*
  > Secondary school  education -% 82.2 81.3 84.2 89.0* 90.0 78.0
HIV risk factor -%
  - Homosexual 42.5 48.5 4.1* 58.3* 36.0 31.7
  - Heterosexual 44.8 37.3 89.4* 39.4* 46.0 51.2
  - Other/ Not known 12.8 14.2 6.5* 2.4* 18.0 17.1
  Duration of HIV infection –  mean, months 98.10 103.22 73.46* 79.80* 82.16 113.84
Last recorded HIV-1 RNA level
  - ART-naïve- median, c/mL 22,390 23,539 11,483 32,241 23,112 12,660
  - ART-experienced –  median, c/mL 39.0 39.0 40.0 28.0 40.0 39.5
  Last recorded CD4 count –  mean, c/µL 586.02 598.70 527.57* 550.17 542.40 599.43
  Previous AIDS diagnosis -% 17.5 17.7 16.6 17.3 16.0 19.5
  Previous CNS infection -% 4.5 3.6 7.2* 6.3 6.0 17.1*
  CD4 count nadir (mean,  cells/µL) 295.02 302.65 255.01* 311.97 259.10 247.63
  Hepatitis C co-infection -% 12.4 14.7 1.6* 3.9* 16.0 12.2
  Previous psychiatric  diagnosis -% 20.2 22.2 9.8* 15.9 20.0 17.1



In this large epidemiologic study, the overall prevalence of a positive screen for NCI was high. In particular, the rate in black patients was nearly double that of the overall study population. This finding needs to be interpreted in light of differences in demographics and disease characteristics between ethnic groups. The overall prevalence of a positive screen for depression in HIV-infected patients was nearly double what has previously been reported in the non-HIV-infected population in Europe when utilizing a similar screening tool, with no significant differences between identified ethnic groups. These results support a strategy of regular screening for, and clinical management of NCI, depression, and anxiety in all HIV-infected patients, with specific focus on NCI in the black population.

Published 11 November 2012

Copyright: © 2012 Elbirt D et al; licensee International AIDS Society. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstracts of the Eleventh International Congress on Drug Therapy in HIV Infection
Elbirt D et al. Journal of the International AIDS Society 2012, 15(Suppl 4):18276 |


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