F Kayungwa, R Serpell, R Heaton
Objectives: To investigate the performance of HIV infected older adults resident in a rural area in Eastern Zambia with low education level on the motor skills and verbal fluency.
Materials and Methods: A quantitative and cross sectional study consisting of 28 HIV positive and 22 HIV negative rural resident adults in Chipata with the age range of 40-65years with fewer than five years of education. The present sub study extended the generalisability of the Zambia Neurobehavioral Test Battery (ZNTB) findings with literate, urban adults in the main study to a sample of less formally educated, elderly, rural adults, using tests of motor skill and some verbal fluency tests translated into local language, that were not expected to depend on formal education. The main sample study included 41 participants with the education range of 5-7 years drawn from the main sample in the 6 clinics in Lusaka. Some aspects of the ZNTB were used to measure cognitive functioning. The Finger Tapping Test of the Developmental Neuropsychological Test Battery was also used.
Results: Tests of motor skill were less sensitive to HIV infection (F (1, 48) = 1.134, p= .292) than verbal fluency tests-Hopkins Verbal Learning (F (1, 48) = 42.994, p= .000, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test- delay (F (1, 48) = 45.886, p= .000, Animal Naming (F(1, 48) = 14.772, p= .000 and Action Naming (F (1, 48) = 14.227, p= .000). Contrary to hypothesis, performance on the grooved pegboard test of motor skill was significantly higher by participants with full primary education (Z score= -0.90) than by less educated participants (Z score= 1.80).
Conclusions: This study has brought to light what was not known about the effect of HIV and education on the performance of the motor tasks and verbal fluency among the low literate adults. It has shown that regardless of the HIV status individuals can perform tasks normally on the motor tasks more especially with the improved treatment of HIV.