Quality of life is an increasingly important outcome measure in medicine and health care. Many measures of quality of life present patients with predetermined lists of questions that may or may not be relevant to the individual patient. This paper describes a brief measure, the SEIQoL-DW, which is derived from the schedule for evaluation of individual quality of life (SEIQoL). The measure allows respondents to nominate the areas of life which are most important, rate their level of functioning or satisfaction with each, and indicate the relative importance of each to their overall quality of life. Given its practicality and brevity, the measure should prove particularly useful in clinical situations where patient generated data on quality of life is important. This article describes the first clinical application of the measure, assessing the quality of life of a cohort of patients with HIV/AIDS managed in general practice.