Perceived discrimination and cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults living with HIV in China.

Zheng Zhu, Yan Hu , Weijie Xing , Mengdi Guo , Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Middle-aged and older adults with HIV experience double discrimination and cognitive impairment due to both their HIV status and their age. However, the relationship between perceived discrimination and self-reported cognitive ability in middle-aged and older people living with HIV (PLWH) is less clear. We measured self-reported perceived discrimination and cognitive ability using the Expanded Everyday Discrimination Scale and the subscale of the AIDS Health Assessment Questionnaire (AIDS-HAQ). The study sample included 324 middle-aged and older PLWH (over 45 years old) from five designated HIV hospitals in three regions (east coast, middle, and southwest regions) of China. The descriptive analysis showed that 45.37% of the participants reported perceiving discrimination at least once in the past twelve months, and 47.22% reported having at least one type of cognitive impairment. Multiple linear regression results showed that higher levels of perceived discrimination (β = −0.121, P = 0.036) were significantly associated with lower levels of self-reported cognitive ability after controlling for several covariates, including sociodemographic variables, mental health status, health behaviors, and social support. A longer duration of HIV was also related to a lower level of self-reported cognitive ability. Our findings indicate that perceived discrimination is related to self-reported cognitive ability and suggest that counseling services and support systems should be developed to reduce age- and disease-associated discrimination. A reduction in perceived discrimination would improve not only overall wellbeing but also cognitive ability in later life.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2019


  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • aging
  • stigma
  • Cognitive ability


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