The will to live among HIV-infected patients

Ann Intern Med. 1999 Aug 3;131(3):194-8. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-131-3-199908030-00006.


Background: Patients infected with HIV value both longevity and health.

Objective: To understand how HIV-infected patients value their health.

Design: Interview study.

Setting: Regional treatment center for HIV.

Patients: 51 patients with HIV infection.

Measurements: Life-satisfaction, health rating, time-tradeoff, and standard-gamble scores.

Results: Of the 51 patients, 49% (95% CI, 35% to 63%) said that their life was better currently than it was before they contracted HIV infection; only 29% said that life was currently worse. The mean (+/- SD) time-tradeoff score was 0.95 +/- 0.10, indicating that, on average, patients would give up no more than 5% of their remaining life expectancy in their current state of health in exchange for a shorter but healthy life. The average health rating score was 71.0 +/- 18.7 on a scale of 0 to 100, and the average standard-gamble score was 0.80 +/- 0.27. Factors contributing to life satisfaction and time-tradeoff scores included spirituality and having children.

Conclusion: Many patients with HIV have a strong will to live, and many feel that life with HIV is better than it was before they became infected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Religion
  • Spirituality
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Value of Life