, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 275-280

The impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection on quality of life in a multiracial South African population

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We set out to document quality of life in South African HIV subjects, using the Medical Outcomes Survey (MOS) SF-36 instrument, and to determine whether this was affected by race, gender or clinical stage of disease. A cross-sectional survey of 134 HIV outpatients (42 White, 49 Mixed race, 43 Black) and 114 healthy non-medical hospital personnel (36 White, 37 Mixed race, 42 Black) was carried out at a referral centre for HIV patients in the Western Cape region of South Africa. Scores on eight scales measuring different aspects of quality of life were calculated. Black female controls scored significantly lower on all scales (p<0.05) except physical function. HIV-infected subjects of Mixed race (both genders) reported poorer physical function (p<0.05) but no other scale was affected by race. HIV subjects scored significantly lower than controls on all scales (p<0.01); the majority of the decline in function occurred early in disease by WHO stages 1 and 2. We conclude that HIV-infection impacts early on all aspects of quality of life and that this impact is largely independent of racial origin.