HIV Elder Study

Purpose of the Study

The goal of this study is to determine the efficacy of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms and improve attention among patients aged 60 or older who suffer from HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) and have maximized treatment options.

Study Details

Participation in this study involves a phone interview, a 5-hour in-person evaluation, several follow-up visits over the course of one year and enrollment in a two-month MBSR course that meets weekly. Study visits take place at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and the MBSR course takes place at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine.

Please see the dedicated HIV Elders Study website for more detailed information about the study.

  • Inclusion criteria: Participants must be 60 years old or older. Participants must be HIV positive, on a stable antiretroviral regimen and have an undetectable viral load. Participants should be free of illicit drug use (cocaine and methamphetamine) for the past 6 months. All participants must be willing and able to undergo testing procedures.
  • Exclusion criteria: Current or extensive previous mindfulness experience. Any identified treatable condition including neurosyphilis, vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid disorders, HIV CNS escape or neurological or psychiatric conditions where treatment options exist, such as multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, uncontrolled epilepsy or recent and untreated major depression. Major recent head injury, stroke or major confounding cognitive factors. Unstable psychiatric condition.

What to Expect

Testing: At the first visit, participants will be asked to undergo cognitive testing, functional assessment, neurological examination, questionnaires and blood draw for clinical labs and other analyses. In rare cases, participants may be asked to undergo a lumbar puncture to rule out other medical conditions that may be affecting memory and thinking. At follow-up visits, participants will be asked to undergo MRI brain scans, cognitive testing, questionnaires and blood draws.

The Frequency of Visits: After the phone interview, the first study visit will be scheduled at the participant’s convenience. Follow-up visits will take place at two-month intervals over the course of one year.

Materials Needed Before Evaluation: None

Costs: No costs will be charged for any of the study procedures. Participants will receive $50 for the first visit to compensate for time, effort, and travel expenses. Participants will also receive payments for follow-up visits and class participation.

Contact Information

If you are interested in participating in this study or have any questions, please contact the study coordinator, Madeline Hillis, at [email protected] or 415.502.7603.