Abstract

Objective: The life-extending effect of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and increasing incidence of cognitive deficits necessitate exploration of alternative settings for speed of processing training in older adults with HIV. This study examined the effectiveness and feasibility of a home-based speed of processing training program in improving cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults with HIV (i.e., age 40+). Method: In a pre-post experimental design, fifteen asymptomatic HIV-positive middle-aged and older adults completed a neuropsychological battery and engaged in a 10-hour home-based speed of processing training program. Participants received a six-week posttest including a survey with open-ended and Likert-type questions regarding their training experience. Results: The posttest revealed significant improvement, F(14) = 2.80, p = .014, in the Useful Field of View (UFOV®), a measure of speed of processing and executive function. The majority of the participants enjoyed the training (M = 3.69; SD = 1.03); there were also self-reported cognitive gains in memory (M = 3.54; SD = 1.05), speed of processing (M = 3.77; SD = 0.83), and attention (M = 4.08; SD = 0.76). Conclusion(s): Results of this pilot study suggest it is possible to help preserve cognitive health in older adults with HIV in remote settings. Home-based speed of processing training may be conducive to HIV-positive adults facing HIV stigma, or fearing disclosure of their HIV status by attending a clinic to receive such therapy.