Family relationships in HIV individuals and their performance on the International Neurobehavioural test battery

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Lutunti, Chilwesa
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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) pandemic was first described in the 1980’s, and the first case in Zambia was reported in 1984 (Chipimo, 2011). Since then the infection rates have continued to raise with the highest rates being recorded between 1990 and 2001, however there has been a decline in the incidence rates since 2007 (CSO 2010).This study was aimed at examining family relationships and the performance of HIV positive individuals on neuropsychological tests. It was part of a larger study looking at the effects of HIV on neuropsychological testing using tests contained in the Zambia Neurobehavioral test Battery.The Zambia Neurobehavioral test Battery with seven domains (executive functioning, attention and working memory, recall, learning, fluency, motor and speed of information processing) was used together with a (group) questionnaire that included family relationship variables namely individual perceptions on family support, family rating, meaning of life, involvement in decision making, quality of life and living conditions. The family relationship variables were recoded from a five point scale to a three point scale hence transforming them into bipolar categorical data as positive, negative and neutral. This recoding was done by three independent raters and an inter-rater reliability of .87 was achieved. The neuropsychological tests were interpreted using the global mean t-scores and the t-scores for the seven domains which were also recoded into categorical data as either impaired or not impaired. The mean was used as a cut-off point to determine impairment. None of the family relationship variables showed any association with any of the domains of the test battery and neither did the global family score and the test battery domains combined into the globaldeficit score to measure performance, reveal any relationship.
HIV/AIDS(Disease)-Complications , Neuropsychological tests , Cognition Disorders , Brain Disorders