The impact of HIV status, HIV disease progression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms on the health-related quality of life of Rwandan women genocide survivors
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We examined whether established associations between HIV disease and HIV disease progression on worse health-related quality of life (HQOL) were applicable to women with severe trauma histories, in this case Rwandan women genocide survivors, the majority of whom were HIV-infected. Additionally, this study attempted to clarify whether post-traumatic stress symptoms were uniquely associated with HQOL or confounded with depression.
The Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment was a longitudinal prospective study of HIV-infected and uninfected women. At study entry, 922 women (705 HIV+ and 217 HIV−) completed measures of symptoms of post-traumatic stress and HQOL as well as other demographic, clinical, and behavioral characteristics.
Even after controlling for potential confounders and mediators, HIV+ women, in particular those with the lowest CD4 counts, scored significantly worse on HQOL and overall quality of life (QOL) than did HIV− women. Even after controlling for depression and HIV disease progression, women with more post-traumatic stress symptoms scored worse on HQOL and overall QOL than women with fewer post-traumatic stress symptoms.
This study demonstrated that post-traumatic stress symptoms were independently associated with HQOL and overall QOL, independent of depression and other confounders or potential mediators. Future research should examine whether the long-term impact of treatment on physical and psychological symptoms of HIV and post-traumatic stress symptoms would generate improvement in HQOL.
KeywordsQuality of life Post-traumatic stress disorder HIV Women Rwanda
Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale
Highly active antiretroviral therapy
Human immunodeficiency virus
Health-related quality of life
Harvard Trauma Questionnaire
Persons living with HIV
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Quality of life
Rwandan Women’s Interassociation Study and Assessment
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