HIV-1 infects brain cells, and this results in damage to the functioning of both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Progressive decline in communication behaviours can be seen from early stages of infection. Among the communication problems observed in those infected with HIV are speech, language, cognition and swallowing. This study was undertaken with the aim of creating a profile of the vocal impairments in individuals affected with HIV/AIDS, which would in turn support evidence-based practices in the assessment and management of such individuals. Eight participants were included in the study. Subjective analysis was carried out by a speech pathologist and objective analysis of acoustic parameters, by the use of Kay Elemetrics MDVP software. The results of the study reveal that all participants had affected parameters in the voice analysis, which ranged across subjects from one parameter to all parameters. Even in the absence of direct pathology to the voice production mechanism, almost all of the parameters of voice are affected in HIV-infected persons. As this is a preliminary study, it is too early to conclude that there is a correlation between vocal deviancies and medical conditions.
- Communication problems
- Vocal impairment