Abstract

Plasma viral load is helpful in monitoring systemic HIV infection but the relationship between plasma viral load and CNS functioning remains unclear. Equivocal results have been reported on the relationship between plasma viral load and cognitive functioning. The present study tested cognitive functions with a standardized neuropsychological battery consisting of 28 test scores. Participants (N=140) were grouped into undetectable (<400 copies), low (401–10,000 copies), or moderate (10,001–100,000 copies) viral load groups. Statistical analyses (MANOVA and MANCOVA) revealed no differences in neuropsychological test performance between the viral load groups. Fairly healthy patients with moderate plasma viral loads do not appear to show increased neuropsychological dysfunction. CSF viral load may be more helpful in evaluating cognitive correlates of HIV encephalitis.