The presence of a psychiatric illness increases the risk of exposure to HIV and disease complications; however, effective treatments have substantially reduced mortality in adults with HIV. Despite such effective treatments, nearly half of adults with HIV experience neurocognitive deficits that can affect job-related and everyday tasks, thus reducing their quality of life. This article provides an overview of the context in which neurocognitive deficits occur in adults with HIV; it also includes implications for treatment and mitigation of such neurocognitive deficits. Understanding the underlying neurocognitive changes related to HIV can help psychiatric nurses provide better care to patients that may improve medication compliance and everyday functioning. © The Author(s) 2014.