The relationship of CSF levels of HIV type 1 RNA to neuropsychological (NP) test performance in 97 prospectively enrolled, HIV-infected subjects (mean age, 31 yrs) was studied at the University of California, San Diego. In patients with AIDS, dementia and minor cognitive-motor disorders were associated with higher CSF RNA levels, whereas those without AIDS showed no relation between CSF RNA and NP impairment. In AIDS, CD4+ lymphocyte cell depletion (<200) correlates with CNS HIV infection and dementia. 
COMMENT. CSF viral studies link AIDS with cognitive impairments. HIV-1 RNA should be monitored in the CSF as well as plasma during antiretroviral therapy.