Objective: We evaluated improvement of quality of life (QoL) after 1 year of second-line antiretroviral therapy (ART) use in resource-limited settings (RLS) among adult men and women, comparing two randomized treatment arms.
Design: The AIDS Clinical Trial Group A5273 was a randomized clinical trial of second-line ART comparing lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) + raltegravir with LPV/r + nucleos(t)ide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) in participants failing a non-NRTI-containing regimen at 15 sites in nine RLS. Participants completed the AIDS Clinical Trial Group short-form-21 which has eight QoL domains with a standard score ranging from 0 (worst) to 100 (best).
Methods: Differences in QoL by randomized arm, as well as by demographic and clinical variables, were evaluated by regression models for baseline and week 48 QoL scores fitted using the generalized estimating equations method.
Results: A total of 512 individuals (49% men, median age 39 years) were included. A total of 512 and 492 participants had QoL assessments at baseline and week 48, respectively. QoL improved significantly from baseline to week 48 (P < 0.001 for all domains). There was no significant difference between treatment arms for any domain. Individuals with higher viral load and lower CD4 cell count at baseline had lower mean QoL at baseline but larger improvements such that mean QoL was similar at week 48.
Conclusion: Improvements in QoL were similar after starting second-line ART of LPV/r combined with either raltegravir or NRTIs in RLS. QoL scores at baseline were lower among participants with worse disease status prior to starting second-line, but after 1 year similar QoL scores were achieved.