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Abstract

As part of the Medical Research Council prospective study of the neurological and neuropsychological complications of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, long-latency event-related potentials were recorded in a cohort of homosexual and bisexual men. The latencies and amplitudes of the potentials, recorded from three scalp sites, were compared with the scores from neuropsychological tests of memory, attention, and concentration and with markers of immune function. The findings from 94 men were analyzed in the cross-sectional study of whom 47 were HIV seropositive without symptoms or signs of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) infection, 24 had progressed to the symptomatic stages of the disease, and 23 were persistently HIV seronegative. There were no consistently significant differences between the three subject groups in mean latencies and amplitudes of the P300 and N200 or in the numbers of abnormal P300 latencies. There were no significant correlations between either the neuropsychological tests scores or the immune measures (CD4 lymphocyte count and β2 microglobulin level) and the neurophysiological parameters. On repeated testing an average of 2 years later, there was no evidence of a significant trend towards deterioration in 30 HIV-seropositive subjects who remained asymptomatic compared with 22 HIV seronegatives. These findings indicate that there is no neurophysiological evidence of cognitive dysfunction in the asymptomatic stages of HIV-1 infection.