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Assessing cognitive-linguistic abilities in South African adults living with HIV: the Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test

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HIV can cross the blood-brain barrier to enter the central nervous system. This results in cognitive deficits in the majority of patients. The assessment of these deficits and management of these patients poses challenges for healthcare workers in South Africa. This study investigates the effectiveness of the Cognitive Linguistic Quick Test (CLQT) in identifying the cognitive and linguistic abilities of adults with HIV or AIDS. Sixteen participants were recruited from an outpatient clinic in Johannesburg. The CLQT was utilised to assess the cognitive/linguistic abilities of the participants. The overall scores revealed that 87.5% of the participants presented with some form of cognitive deficit, 81% exhibited deficits in memory and executive functioning, 75% showed deficits in attention and visual perception, and 50% exhibited language deficits. Thus, this instrument may be usefully employed with patients who exhibit neurological disorders, including those caused by HIV infection. We conclude that the CLQT can be used as an alternative to more expensive, elaborate and time-consuming neuropsychometric evaluations to identify deficits in memory, attention and executive functions as experienced by adults with HIV or AIDS in South Africa.

Keywords: AIDS dementia complex; HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder; assessment methods; cognitive/linguistic assessment; cognitive/linguistic deficits; neurological diseases

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: School of Human and Community Development, Speech Pathology and Audiology Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa 2: School of Human and Community Development, Psychology Department, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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