Objective: This study assessed health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and its related factors in HIV/AIDS patients taking antiretroviral treatment (ART) in Vietnam.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1016 patients (36.2% women, mean age = 35.4) in three epicenters of Vietnam, including Hanoi, Hai Phong, and Ho Chi Minh City. HRQOL was assessed using the Vietnamese version of the WHOQOL-HIV BREF. Factor analysis classified measure items into six HRQOL dimensions, namely Physical, Morbidity, Social, Spirituality, Performance, and Environment. Tobit censored regression models were applied to determine associations of patient's characteristics and HRQOL domain scores.
Results: Internal consistency reliability of the six domains ranged from 0.69 to 0.89. The WHOQOL-HIV BREF had a good discriminative validity with patient's disease stages, CD4 cell counts, and duration of ART. In a band score of (4, 20), six domains were moderate; "Environment" had the highest score (13.8±2.8), and "Social" had the lowest score (11.2±3.3). Worse HRQOL were observed in patients at provincial and district clinics. Those patients who were male, had higher educational attainment, and are employed, reported better HRQOL. In reduced regression models, poorer HRQOL was found in patients who had advanced HIV infection and had CD4 cell count <200 cells/mL. Patients reported significantly poorer Physical and Social in the 1(st) year ART, but moderately better Performance, Morbidity, Spirituality, and Environment from the 2(nd) year ART, compared to those not-yet-on ART.
Conclusion: Strengthening the quality of ART services at the provincial and district levels, gender-specific impact mitigation, and early treatment supports are recommended for further expansion of ART services in Vietnam. Regular assessments of HRQOL may provide important indicators for monitoring and evaluating HIV/AIDS services.