The prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is higher among HIV-infected (HIV+) women compared with HIV-uninfected (HIV−) women, and deficits in episodic memory are a common feature of both PTSD and HIV infection. We investigated the association between a probable PTSD diagnosis using the PTSD Checklist-Civilian (PCL-C) version and verbal learning and memory using the Hopkins Verbal Learning Test in 1004 HIV+ and 496 at-risk HIV− women. HIV infection was not associated with a probable PTSD diagnosis (17 % HIV+, 16 % HIV−; p = 0.49) but was associated with lower verbal learning (p < 0.01) and memory scores (p < 0.01). Irrespective of HIV status, a probable PTSD diagnosis was associated with poorer performance in verbal learning (p < 0.01) and memory (p < 0.01) and psychomotor speed (p < 0.001). The particular pattern of cognitive correlates of probable PTSD varied depending on exposure to sexual abuse and/or violence, with exposure to either being associated with a greater number of cognitive domains and a worse cognitive profile. A statistical interaction between HIV serostatus and PTSD was observed on the fine motor skills domain (p = 0.03). Among women with probable PTSD, HIV− women performed worse than HIV+ women on fine motor skills (p = 0.01), but among women without probable PTSD, there was no significant difference in performance between the groups (p = 0.59). These findings underscore the importance of considering mental health factors as correlates to cognitive deficits in women with HIV.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience