The advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) regimens has resulted in significantly reduced morbidity and mortality due to HIV infection. However, in spite of more effective treatment options, for some individuals, HIV infection continues to be associated with clinically significant cognitive impairment, particularly in the later stages of disease. The purpose of the present study was to examine the usefulness of the anti-saccade task as a measure of cognitive impairment in a community sample of older HIV+ adults. Using an archival data set, this exploratory study examined how performance on the anti-saccade task related to the diagnosis of HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders. Specifically, the study focused on HIV-associated mild neurocognitive disorder (MND) and HIV-associated dementia (HAD). The presence of MND or HAD was diagnosed using participants' neuropsychological test performance and self-reported functional status. It was hypothesized that deficits in anti-saccade task performance would be associated with deficits on other measures of cognitive functioning and with diagnosis of HAD. There were 81 HIV+ adults in the sample. They had a mean age of 48.35 years and reported an average of just over 13 years of education. The HIV+ participants were predominantly male (69%) and African American (57%), with significant numbers of Caucasian (30%) and Hispanic (14%) persons as well. Overall, the HIV+ participants in this sample reported little functional impairment in their daily lives, performed relatively well on the neurocognitive measures, and showed little difficulty with the anti-saccade task. In general, the sample appeared relatively healthy, perhaps reflecting the improved treatments for HIV in recent years. The lack of variance on cognitive measures, including the anti-saccade task, made it difficult to test the study's hypotheses. Exploratory analyses showed modest but statistically significant correlations between anti-saccade task performance and WAIS-R Digit Symbol scores. Considering both anti-saccade error rates and task scores, poorer performance was associated with lower scores on Digit Symbol. Other findings, limitations of the study, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Psychology; HIV-positive persons; Neuropsychological tests

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Mitchell, Cary;