Abstract

The emotional processing in human immunodeficiency virus-seropositive individuals (HIV+) has been scarcely studied. We included HIV+ individuals (n = 107) on antiretroviral therapy (≥2 years) who completed 6 facial processing tasks and neurocognitive testing. We compared HIV+ and healthy adult (HA) participants (n = 40) in overall performance of each facial processing task. Multiple logistic regressions were conducted to explore predictors of poorer accuracy in those measures in which HIV+ individuals performed poorer than HA participants. We separately explored the impact of neurocognitive status, antiretroviral regimen, and hepatitis C virus (HCV) coinfection on the tasks performance. We found similar performance in overall facial emotion discrimination, recognition, and recall between HIV+ and HA participants. The HIV+ group had poorer recognition of particular negative emotions. Lower WAIS-III Vocabulary scores and active HCV predicted poorer accuracy in recognition of particular emotions. Our results suggest that permanent damage of emotion-related brain systems might persist despite long-term effective antiretroviral therapy.

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