Quality of life assessment among HIV-positive persons entering the INSIGHT Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) trial

HIV Med. 2015 Apr;16 Suppl 1(0 1):88-96. doi: 10.1111/hiv.12237.


Objectives: With HIV treatment prolonging survival and HIV infection now managed as a chronic illness, quality of life (QOL) is important to evaluate in persons living with HIV (PLWH). We assessed at study entry the QOL of antiretroviral-naïve PLWH with CD4 counts > 500 cells/μL in the Strategic Timing of AntiRetroviral Treatment (START) clinical trial.

Methods: QOL was assessed with: (1) a visual analogue scale (VAS) for self-assessment of overall current health; (2) the Short-Form 12-Item Version 2 Health Survey(®) (SF-12V2), for which responses are summarized into eight individual QOL domains plus component summary scores for physical health [the Physical Health Component Summary (PCS)] and mental health [the Mental Health Component Summary (MCS)]. The VAS and eight domain scores were scaled from 0 to 100. Mean QOL measures were calculated overall and by demographic, clinical and behavioural factors.

Results: A total of 4631 participants completed the VAS and 4119 the SF-12. The mean VAS score (with standard deviation) was 80.9 ± 15.7. Mean SF-12 domain scores were lowest for vitality (66.3 ± 26.4) and mental health (68.6 ± 21.4), and highest for physical functioning (89.3 ± 23.0) and bodily pain (88.0 ± 21.4). Using multiple linear regression, PCS scores were lower (P < 0.001) for Asians, North Americans, female participants, older participants, and those with less education, longer duration of known HIV infection, alcoholism/substance dependence and body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m(2) . MCS scores were highest (P < 0.001) for Africans, South Americans and older participants, and lowest for female participants, current smokers and those with alcoholism/substance dependence.

Conclusions: In this primarily healthy population, QOL was mostly favourable, emphasizing that it is important that HIV treatments do not negatively impact QOL. Self-assessed physical health summary scores were higher than mental health scores. Factors such as older age and geographical region had different effects on perceived physical and mental health.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00867048.

Keywords: HIV; antiretroviral therapy; quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • CD4 Lymphocyte Count
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / pathology
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Self-Examination
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00867048