2012 Conference

HIV, HAND and Brain Health

Up to 50% of people living with HIV can develop cognitive impairments that will affect their attention span, learning efficiency, reasoning/problem solving, word finding and psychomotor skills. In most cases these impairments overall tend to be mild, but even at this level, they can affect a person's ability to work and to carry out day-to-day activities, including difficulties in social situations. They can cause frustration, weaken confidence, reduce employability and threaten independence. To improve brain health and quality of life for people with HIV, we need better ways to detect cognitive impairments earlier, a better understanding of the natural history of HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) and the treatments/interventions to reduce or delay them. And as people living with HIV age, we need to understand how the emergence of other medical conditions (related or unrelated to HIV) and mental health issues may complicate HAND diagnosis and treatment. This panel of international leaders in neuro-AIDS will discuss what we know about HAND and the work underway to address this urgent health need for people living with HIV.

Robert HeatonRobert Heaton, Ph.D. is the Vice Chair of Academic Affairs for the Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Having earned his Ph.D. at the University of Washington, Heaton's research focus includes effects of HIV and comorbid conditions on the brain and behaviour, and psychometric issues in neuropsychology. In addition, his research has included studies focused around the HIV experience in China.

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Scott LetendreScott Letendre, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Medicine in Residence in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). At UCSD, Dr. Letendre performs translational, patient-oriented research of the central nervous system, consequences of chronic infections, including HIV, HCV, and malaria. Dr. Letendre also conducts HIV treatment trials of investigational drugs and is an investigator in the UCSD unit of the AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

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Victor ValcourDr. Victor Valcour is an internist and geriatrician at the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF where he is an Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine and Neurology. He worked as Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Hawaii - Manoa before joining the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF. Dr. Valcour's main research interest is neurocognition in aging HIV patients. His current work at UCSF focuses on HIV patients over 60 years of age where he is recruiting individuals for a longitudinal cohort.

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Sean B. RourkeSean B. Rourke, Ph.D. is the Scientific and Executive Director of the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Director of REACH. A leader in the field of neuroAIDS, Sean is a Scientist with the Centre for Research on Inner City Health in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Full Graduate Member of the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Windsor.

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