Speech-Language and Cognitive Findings in Patients with HIV/AIDS
Keywords:HIV, communications disorders, cognitive disorders, hearing disorders, prevalence
BACKGROUND: Few adult patients with HIV/AIDS are screened regularly for speech-language and cognitive disorders even though they may manifest communication difficulties. No comprehensive studies assessing the broad range of speech-language and cognitive disorders of adults with HIV/AIDS appear in the literature. As such, clinicians may be unfamiliar with the types of communication disorders that may be manifested. This study assessed the prevalence of speech-language and cognitive disorders in adults with HIV/AIDS using a broad inventory of speech, language, and cognitive skills. METHODS: A cross-sectional design was used to investigate communication disorders in a convenience sample of patients living with HIV/AIDS. Adult patients from a general internal medicine clinic in Wichita, Kansas were recruited as they presented for medical appointments. Each participant received a speech-language and cognitive test battery consisting of 10 assessments. RESULTS: The primary outcomes were: (1) presence of any speech-language or cognitive disorder, and (2) degree of communication disorder, as measured by the number of positive results. Eighty-two adults with HIV/AIDS were evaluated for communication disorders. Prevalence was 95%; 78 out of 82 participants manifested abnormal findings on at least one assessment in the test battery. Test results revealed a variety of cognitive and language issues, mostly related to integrating information on the picture description task (45%), timed word generation (44%), and memory-related story retelling (35%). Two participants revealed abnormal results on all ten assessments. CONCLUSION: Speech-language and cognition deficits are common in adult patients with HIV/AIDS. Every patient with HIV/AIDS should be assessed to determine the impact of these communication deficits on their daily living skills.
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