Sex differences in neurocognitive function in adults with HIV: Patterns, predictors, and mechanisms


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Sex differences in cognitive function are well documented yet few studies had adequate numbers of women and men living with HIV (WLWH; MLWH) to identify sex differences in neurocognitive impairment (NCI) and the factors contributing to NCI. Here, we review evidence that WLWH may be at greater risk for NCI. RECENT FINDINGS: We conducted a systematic review of recent studies of NCI in WLWH versus MLWH. A power analysis showed that few HIV studies have sufficient power to address male/female differences in NCI but studies with adequate power find evidence of greater NCI in WLWH, particularly in the domains of memory, speed of information processing, and motor function. Sex is an important determinant of NCI in HIV, and may relate to male/female differences in cognitive reserve, comorbidities (mental health and substance use disorders), and biological factors (e.g., inflammation, hormonal, genetic)


Rubin LH, Neigh GN, Sundermann EE, Xu Y, Scully EP, Maki PM




  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Mental Health
    • Neurocognitive disorders


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