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HIV and Illicit Drug Use Interact, Affect Verbal Learning and Memory in Women

By Mathew Rodriguez

August 13, 2013

New research via the U.S. Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) shows that HIV infection and illicit drugs work together in a negative way and can diminish cognitive performance. The study of almost 1,400 women -- some HIV negative, some HIV positive -- of similar socioeconomic backgrounds divided the women into three groups: those with recent drug use, former drug users and nonusers.

After comparing scores among the three groups on the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test-Revised, researchers saw a correlation between HIV status and recent drug use. The team proposed that "the interaction between HIV serostatus and recent illicit drug use on verbal learning and memory suggests a potential synergistic neurotoxicity that may affect the neural circuitry underlying performance on these tasks."

Read the details of this report, brought to us by the Black AIDS Institute.

Mathew Rodriguez is the editorial project manager for and

Follow Mathew on Twitter: @mathewrodriguez.

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