Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Asymptomatic cognitive impairment in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients has recently been recognised as part of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. This has been implicated as one of the causes of poor adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

Objective: To assess the association between neurocognitive impairment (asymptomatic and mild forms) and adherence to ART.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey involving 218 participants consecutively sampled from those attending the HIV treatment clinic at Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi. Data collected included quantitative primary data on pre-defined baseline characteristics, neurocognitive assessment by Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) tool (Appendix 1), instrumental activities of daily living by Lawton score and objective and subjective adherence measures by medication possession ratio (MPR) and simplified medication adherence questionnaire (SMAQ) (see Appendix 2). Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted to determine the strengths of association between predictor and the outcome variables.

Results: Among the 218 participants in the study, a total of 69% had asymptomatic to mild neurocognitive impairment as assessed by the MoCA tool, while a total of 66% were determined as being adherent to ART by objective measures (by MPR) compared to subjective rates of 77% as assessed by SMAQ. However, no statistically significant association was observed between the presence of asymptomatic or mild neurocognitive impairment and likelihood of adherence to ART (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: Even though asymptomatic and mild forms of cognitive impairment are prevalent in the population studied, there was no significant association between cognitive impairment and adherence to treatment.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine