HomeAboutusEditorial BoardCurrent issuearchivesSearch articlesInstructions for authorsSubscription detailsAdvertise

  Login  | Users online: 2298

   Ahead of print articles    Bookmark this page Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font size Increase font size  

 Table of Contents    
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 165-169

Assessment of quality of life of HIV-positive people receiving art: An Indian perspective

1 Department of Food and Nutrition, Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India
2 World Food Programme (Formerly), New Delhi, India

Date of Submission22-May-2010
Date of Acceptance03-Feb-2012
Date of Web Publication21-Aug-2012

Correspondence Address:
Seema Puri
Institute of Home Economics, F-4, Hauz Khas Enclave, New Delhi - 110 016
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-0218.99918

Rights and Permissions



Context: HIV/AIDS is known to affect an individual not only physically but also mentally, socially, and financially. It is a syndrome that builds a vacuum in a person affecting his/her life as a whole. Aims: The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the quality of life (QOL) of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) receiving ART and its association with Body mass index (BMI) and CD4 count. Study Design: An observational study was performed on PLHIV receiving ART in Orissa, India. Materials and Methods: Data on sociodemographic profile, BMI, and CD4 were gathered from 153 HIV-positive subjects. QOL was assessed using WHOQOL-HIV BREF scale. Results: The overall QOL score of the subjects was moderate; PLHIV with lower BMI also had poorer QOL (P<0.05). Employment affected only the social health domain of the subjects. Men reported poorer level of independence and physical health while women reported poorer social relationships and environment. All the six domains correlated significantly with the overall QOL indicated by the G-facet. Conclusion: Attention toward improving the nutritional status of PLHIV should be accorded high priority to ensure improvement in the overall QOL of PLHIV.

Keywords: BMI, HIV/AIDS, quality of life, WHOQOL-BREF

How to cite this article:
Anand D, Puri S, Mathew M. Assessment of quality of life of HIV-positive people receiving art: An Indian perspective. Indian J Community Med 2012;37:165-9

How to cite this URL:
Anand D, Puri S, Mathew M. Assessment of quality of life of HIV-positive people receiving art: An Indian perspective. Indian J Community Med [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Jul 6];37:165-9. Available from: https://www.ijcm.org.in/text.asp?2012/37/3/165/99918

   Introduction Top

HIV/AIDS has become a serious health, economic, and social problem with 33 million people living with HIV (PLHIV) virus globally and 2.4 million people only in India in the year 2007. [1] National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) reports stabilization of virus in the southern part of the country; however, 26 districts have been identified with the increase in HIV prevalence. In India, anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment is given free of cost to PLHIVs registering themselves at the anti-retroviral treatment (ART) center. In 2009, NACO reports that there are 4 987 integrated counseling and testing centers (ICTC) and 211 ART centers where ART treatment is given free of cost to over 2 lakh PLHIVs. [2]

ARV drugs have revolutionized the treatment for HIV by increasing the average lifespan of HIV-positive individual. QOL of PLHIV has become a salient issue after the increase in availability of ARV and increase in average life span. WHO defines QOL as individuals' perceptions of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns. [3]

There are various studies conducted across the globe which report that as the HIV infection progresses, it affects the QOL of the individual. [4],[5],[6],[7] Various factors apart from physical and mental health like employment status, age, gender, income, education, HIV stage, severity of HIV infection, etc. are found to impinge on the QOL of PLHIVs. [8],[9],[10],[11],[12] Also, QOL is identified as a useful medium to measure or determine the efficacy of treatment or interventions like dietary interventions. [13] Therefore, the present study investigates the QOL of Indian PLHIV receiving ART and examines the factors that may affect it.

   Materials and Methods Top

From a total of 890 registered patients at the ART clinic of MKCG Medical College, Berhampur, Orissa, a total of 153 PLHIV (96 males and 57 females) were enrolled for the study. The permission to gather information from the registered PLHIV was obtained for a period of 15 days during November 2008. All PLHIV who attended the clinic over a period of two weeks were greater than 21 years of age, received ART not more than last 6 months, had record of CD4 estimations within last 30 days from the date of data collection, and agreed to answer the questions related to QOL were enrolled in the study. Infants, children, adolescents, and pregnant and lactating mothers; those not registered at the center; and those who refused to participate in the study were excluded from the study.

Ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee of Institute of Home Economics, University of Delhi, India. Details of the study procedures were given on the volunteer's information sheet (in Oriya language). The benefits, confidentiality, and voluntary participation features of the study were explained and written informed consent was obtained from all the subjects.

WHOQOL-HIV BREF version [3] was used to investigate the QOL of PLHIV receiving ART. The scale produces six domain scores namely physical, psychological, level of independence, social relationships, environmental, and spirituality, religion, personal beliefs (SRPB). There is also a general facet ('G' facet) which asks about general QOL and health. Individual items are rated on a 5-point Likert scale where 1 indicates low, negative perceptions and 5 indicates high, positive perceptions. Higher score indicates better QOL. For better result interpretations, the QOL scores between 4 - 9.9 were taken as low scores, 10 -14.9 as medium scores, and 15 - 20 as high score. [14]

The sociodemographic information was collected with the help of a questionnaire. As the researcher was not equipped and allowed to carry out blood examinations, CD4 counts were taken from the hospital records assessed not prior to 30 days from the date of QOL data collection. Body mass index (BMI) was determined by assessing the height and weight of the PLHIV using standardized techniques.

All the statistical procedures were carried out in SPSS 9.0 software.

   Results Top

Sociodemographic and anthropometric profile

Majority of the study population (84%) belonged to the age group of 21 to 40 years. Around 31% of the population was illiterate and among the literates, primary level education (40.5%) was common. Heterosexuality and unsafe sexual activity was found to be the major cause for HIV transmission both among males and females (98%). Unemployment was more among females than in males as majority of the females were housewives. Among those employed, construction work and cultivation was the main occupation. Almost 50% of the respondents reported annual per capita income to be less than Rs. 20,000 (i.e., less than Rs. 2000 or $41.67 per month).

Anthropometric and biochemical profile

The anthropometric profile and mean CD4 count of the study population is shown in [Table 1]. The mean BMI of males was 19 ± 2.3 kg/m 2 ranging from 14.8 to 28.4 kg/m 2 while that of females was 18.3 ± 2.5 kg/m 2 ranging from 13 to 24.6 kg/m 2 . No significant differences were found between the BMI scores of males and females. Since there was a wide range in the BMIs, the subjects were also classified according to the standard BMI cut-off points [15] as shown in [Table 2]. Although 45% of the subjects fell within the normal BMI range, 50% were underweight.
Table 1: Mean anthropometric and clinical parameters

Click here to view
Table 2: QOL domain scales according to the BMI cut-off points (mean±SD)

Click here to view

Quality of life

The mean scores of QOL domains are shown in [Table 3] wherein the scores range from 9.7±2.4 (G-facet) to 14.5±2.3 (SRPB). The QOL profile of subjects indicates a moderate score in all domains of QOL; however, only G-facet score was below 10 indicating a poor overall QOL. There was not much difference in the QOL domain scores between males and females, except that the social relationships and environment domains indicated a statistically significant lower score of females than males. However, this difference in the scores could not lead to any significant clinical interpretations.
Table 3: Mean scores of quality of life domains (mean±SD)

Click here to view

[Table 2] highlights the change in QOL scores with the BMI. A positive shift in the QOL scores is seen as the BMI rises. Linear regression analysis was carried out to find out the contribution of BMI to each domain of QOL. It was found that BMI explained only 3.1% of the variance, contributing maximum to level of independence (R 2 = 0.053) and least to physical domain (R 2 = 0.009). Similarly, CD4 explained only 1.0% of the variance. This indicates that there are a lot many factors apart from BMI and CD4 that affect QOL of an HIV-positive individual which needs to be identified and worked upon.

Pearson's correlations were determined between BMI and QOL which showed that for the entire sample (males and females), BMI correlated positively and significantly with level of independence (domain 3) and SRPB (domain 6) (P<0.01) and with G-facet, Psychological (domain 2), and Environment (domain 5) (P<0.05). Gender-wise analysis showed that in males, BMI correlated significantly (P<0.05) only with level of independence (domain 3); however, in females, it correlated significantly with G-facet and SRPB (domain 6) (P<0.01).

QOL scores were also analyzed according to the CD4 count. The subjects were classified according to the severity of infection as indicated by CD4 count.

It can be seen from [Table 4] that as the CD4 count improves, the domain score also increases, being significant only in SRPB domain. This indicates that better the clinical health, better the QOL. Also, a significant correlation (P<0.05) was found between CD4 and Spirituality, religion, and personal belief domain. Except for environment domain, in all the other domains the score increased as the CD4 count increased.
Table 4: QOL domain scales according to the CD4 count

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

The present study used the WHOQOL-BREF-HIV scale designed to investigate the QOL of PLHIV. The study investigated the QOL of PLHIV who were registered at the ART clinic and were on ARV treatment. In India, heterosexual behavior continues to be the major risk factor for the transmission of HIV and we also found high levels of heterosexuals and unsafe sexual practices as major route of HIV transmission. [16],[17] While interviewing the women, they revealed that the infection spread from males to females as the males went out to work in neighboring districts/cities and indulged in unsafe sexual practices. After returning to their native place, they spread the infection to their spouse.

The overall QOL of PLHIV, as evident by the G-facet scores, was found to correlate significantly with every domain. This indicates that any damage to any one domain of life (physical, psychological, social relations, independence, environment, or spirituality) affects the overall QOL of an individual.

The QOL scores fell in the moderate category (12-17), with maximum in SRPB and lowest in social relationships. However, PLHIV who were on ART but did not attend the clinic during two-week period (reasons for not attending could be poor health, difficulty in travelling from far flung areas, economic reasons, etc.) or whose CD4 count was either not done in the last 30 days was not available, lost-follow-up cases (i.e., those who have not returned to the ART center for last three months), adults below the age of 21 years, and pregnant females have not been included in the present study and this may have influenced the QOL scores. Yen et al. and Santos et al.[14],[18] also reported similar findings. PLHIV in the present study believed that they were suffering because they were chosen to suffer by the supreme power and it was their destiny. However, this did not affect their faith in the supreme power. Low score on the social front could be attributed to the fact that the PLHIV restrained themselves from social interactions (i.e., making friends, participating in social gatherings, accepting help from their relatives or friends, etc.) because of their positive status. Social relationship domain measures personal relationships, social support, sexual activity, and social inclusion. Low score on this domain indicates poor social health of PLHIV. This can be attributed to the poor social interaction due to self consciousness about the disease.

When comparisons between the genders were made, it indicated that females scored lower on all the domain of QOL compared with males. Significant difference was seen in social relationships and environment domains. A study conducted on PLHIV in Italy also reported that females scored lower on psychological and environment domains than males. [19] Low levels of literacy among females, unemployment, financial dependency, and social boundations can be the contributory factors for lower scores on QOL domains by females. While collecting the data, responses from the females indicated that the females acquired the infection from their spouse which brings in more frustration toward partner, themselves, disease, and the society.

Employment not only makes an individual financially independent but also serves as a means of social support, role identity, and personal meaning. [20] Previous studies have shown that employed PLHIV have significant higher scores than their unemployed counterpart. [21],[22] Although in the present study no such results were found, the employed individuals scored high on the social health domain, which could be attributed to the financial security and social support as indicated by another study conducted in Estonia. [23] Considering the functional capacities and health profile of PLHIV, suitable employment opportunities should be provided to eliminate the stigma attached and to improve the social health of these individuals.

According to the NACO (2007) guidelines, CD4 estimations for PLHIV on ART are repeated every six months. [24] Due to this reason, only those PLHIV whose CD4 estimations not later than 30 days were available were included in the study. Literature has shown that CD4 is an indication of level of infection in the body, wherein an increase in CD4 level results in better physical health and decrease makes the patient prone to opportunistic infections. [25],[26] In the present study, CD4 was not found to have profound effect on the QOL of PLHIV (though an increase in score was found with the increase in CD4 count), same results were reported by earlier studies also. [18],[27],[28] This can be due to the fact that the patients enrolled in the present study were outpatients receiving ART and were in a relatively stable clinical condition. People living with AIDS had better QOL on environment domain than other patients but scored worse on SRPB domain. BMI correlated significantly with psychological, level of independence, environment, and SRPB domains. An increase in BMI is an indication of improvement in physical health which helps to increase self confidence, infuse a sense of independence wherein a person moves around and feels accepted in the environment he stays, and thanks the almighty for his improved condition. The present study had some limitations like small sample size, stipulated time frame, and non-inclusion of those who were on ART but could not be included in the study due to variable reasons.

   Conclusion Top

The present study found that PLHIV receiving ART in Orissa had moderate QOL; scoring maximum in SRPB domain and lowest in social relationships. A positive correlation between BMI and QOL do indicate that attention toward improving the nutritional status of PLHIV should be accorded high priority to ensure improvement in overall QOL of PLHIV.

   Acknowledgement Top

We are grateful to the World Food Programme, India Office, for supporting the study. We also thank the participants and the staff of MKCG Medical College, Berhampur, Orissa, for their cooperation.

   References Top

1.UNAIDS. 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic. Available from: http://www.unaids.org/en/KnowledgeCentre/HIVData/GlobalReport/2008/2008_Global_report.asp. [Last accessed on 2009 June 21].  Back to cited text no. 1
2.National AIDS Control Organization. Department of AIDS Control, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Annual Report; 2009.   Back to cited text no. 2
3.WHO.WHOQOL-HIV Instrument, Users Manual, Scoring and Coding for the WHOQOL-HIV Instruments. Mental Health Evidence and Research Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, World Health Organization, Geneva; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Paton NI, Chapman CA, Chan SP, Tan KM, Leo YS, Aboulhab J, et al. Validation of the medical outcomes study HIV health survey as a measure of quality of life in HIV-infected patients in Singapore. Int J STD AIDS 2002;13:456-61.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Bourgoyne RW, Saunders DS. Quality of life among Canadian HIV/AIDS clinic outpatients. Int J STD AIDS 2001;12:505-12.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Kemppainen J K. Predictors of quality of life in AIDS patients. J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care 2001;12:61-70.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Penedo FJ, Gonzalez JS, Dahn JR, Antoni M, Malow R, Costa P, et al. Personality, quality of life and HAART adherence among men and women living with HIV/AIDS. J Psychosom Res 2003;54:271- 8.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Cowdery JE, Pesa JA. Assessing quality of life in women living with HIV infection. AIDS Care 2002;14:235-45.   Back to cited text no. 8
9.Wachtel T, Piette J, Mor V, Stein M, Fleishman J, Carpenter C. Quality of life in persons with human immunodeficiency virus infection: Measurement by the Medical Outcomes Study instrument. Ann Intern Med 1992;116:129-37.   Back to cited text no. 9
10.Murri R, Fantoni M, Del Borgo C, Visona R, Barracco A, Zambelli A, et al. Determinants of health-related quality of life in HIV-infected patients. AIDS Care 2003;15:581-90.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Wu AW, Rubin HR, Mathews WC, Ware JE Jr, Brysk LT, Hardy WD, et al. A health status questionnaire using 30 items from the Medical Outcomes Study. Preliminary validation in persons with early HIV infection. Med Care 1991;29:786-98.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Cleary PD, Fowler FJ Jr, Weissman J, Massagli MP, Wilson I, Seage GR 3rd, et al. Health-related quality of life in persons with acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Med Care 1993;31:569- 80.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Echeverria PS, Jonnalagadda SS, Hopkins BL, Rosenbloom CA. Perception of quality of life of persons with HIV/AIDS and maintenance of nutritional parameters while on protease inhibitors. AIDS Patient Care STDS 1999;13:427-33.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Santos EC, França JI Jr, Lopez F. Quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS in São Paulo, Brazil. Rev Saude Publica 2007;41 Suppl 2:64-71.  Back to cited text no. 14
15.WHO Expert Consultation. Appropriate body-mass index for Asian populations and its implications for policy and intervention strategies. Lancet 2004;363:157-63.  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Wig N, Lekshmi R, Pal H, Ahuja V, Mittal CM, Agarwal SK. The impact of HIV/AIDS on the quality of life: A cross sectional study in north India. Indian J Med Sci 2006;60:3-12.   Back to cited text no. 16
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
17.National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). National AIDS Control Programme, Phase III (2007-2012), Strategy and implementation plan. November 30 2006. NACO, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Yen CF, Tsai JJ, Lu PL, Chen YH, Chen TC, Chen PP, et al. Quality of life and its correlates in HIV/AIDS male outpatients receiving highly active antiretroviral therapy in Taiwan. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2004;58:501-6.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Starace F, Cafaro L, Abrescia N, Chirianni, Izzo C, Rucci P, et al. Quality of life assessment in HIV-positive persons: application and validation of the WHOQOLHIV, Italian version. AIDS Care 2002;14:405-15.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Hoffman MA. HIV disease and work: effect on the individual, workplace, and interpersonal contexts. J Vocat Behav 1997;51:163-201.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Blalock AC, McDaniel JS, Farber EW. Effect of employment on quality of life and psychological functioning in patients with HIV/AIDS. Psychosomatics 2002;43:400-4.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Swindells S, Mohr J, Justis JC, Berman S, Squier C, Wagener MM, et al. Quality of life in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection: Impact of social support, coping style and hopelessness. Int J STD AIDS 1999;10:383-91.  Back to cited text no. 22
23.Ruutel K, Pisarev H, Loit HM, Uuskula A. Factors influencing quality of life of people living with HIV in Estonia: A cross-sectional survey. J Int AIDS Soc 2009;12:13.  Back to cited text no. 23
24.National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). Antiretroviral therapy guidelines for HIV-infected adults and adolescents including post exposure prophylaxis. NACO, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, May 2007.   Back to cited text no. 24
25.Ghate M, Deshpande S, Tripathi S, Nene M, Gedam P, Godbole S, et al. Incidence of common opportunistic infections in HIV-infected individuals in Pune, India: Analysis by stage of immunosuppression represented by CD4 counts. Int J Infect Dis 2009;13:el-e8.  Back to cited text no. 25
26.Saha K, Firdaus R, Santra P, Pal J, Roy A, Bhattacharya MK, et al. Recent pattern of co-infection amongst HIV seropositive individuals in tertiary care hospital, Kolkata. Virol J 2011;8:116.  Back to cited text no. 26
27.Smith KW, Avis NE, Mayer KH, Swislow L. Use of the MQoL-HIV with asymptomatic HIV-positive patients. Qual Life Res 1997;6:555-60.  Back to cited text no. 27
28.Sahu S. Integration of nutrition services with HIV Care - Tamil Nadu experience. ILSI Conference Report on Nutrition and HIV/AIDS: from knowledge to action. 2008. p. 19-22.  Back to cited text no. 28


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

This article has been cited by
1 Progressive resistance training irrespective of whey protein intake improves quality of life in HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy
Takshita Sookan, Ayesha A. Motala, Michael J. Ormsbee, Jose Antonio, Nombulelo P. Magula, Umesh G. Lalloo, Andrew J. Mckune
African Journal for Physical Activity and Health Sciences (AJPHES). 2021; 27(3): 288
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Correlates of health-related quality of life among adults receiving combination antiretroviral therapy in coastal Kenya
Moses K. Nyongesa,Paul Mwangi,Stanley W. Wanjala,Agnes M. Mutua,Hans M. Koot,Pim Cuijpers,Charles R. J. C. Newton,Amina Abubakar
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 2020; 18(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Environment and psychosocial factors are more important than clinical factors in determining quality of life of HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy
Kanan T. Desai,Prakash B Patel,Anupam Verma,RK Bansal
Tropical Doctor. 2020; 50(3): 180
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 Quality of life among HIV-infected individuals failing first-line antiretroviral therapy in resource-limited settings
Thiago S. Torres,Linda J. Harrison,Alberto M. La Rosa,Jeffrey A. Lavenberg,Lu Zheng,Steven A. Safren,McNeil Ngongondo,Selvamuthu Poongulali,Mitch Matoga,Wadzanai Samaneka,Ann C. Collier,Michael D. Hughes
AIDS Care. 2018; 30(8): 954
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Food insecurity, mental health and quality of life among people living with HIV commencing antiretroviral treatment in Ethiopia: a cross-sectional study
Markos Tesfaye,Pernille Kaestel,Mette Frahm Olsen,Tsinuel Girma,Daniel Yilma,Alemseged Abdissa,Christian Ritz,Martin Prince,Henrik Friis,Charlotte Hanlon
Health and Quality of Life Outcomes. 2016; 14(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 Nutritional status and its association with quality of life among people living with HIV attending public anti-retroviral therapy sites of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Rajshree Thapa,Archana Amatya,Durga Prasad Pahari,Kiran Bam,M Sophia Newman
AIDS Research and Therapy. 2015; 12(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
7 Measures of Nutritional Status and Quality of Life in Adult People Living with HIV/AIDS at a Tertiary Hospital in Nigeria
O. F. Folasire,A. M. Folasire,R. A. Sanusi
Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2015; 06(04): 412
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
8 Cut-off point for WHOQOL-bref as a measure of quality of life of older adults
Patrícia Aparecida Barbosa Silva,Sônia Maria Soares,Joseph Fabiano Guimarães Santos,Líliam Barbosa Silva
Revista de Saúde Pública. 2014; 48(3): 390
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
9 Effect of Lipodystrophy on the Quality of Life among People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy
Archana Shenoy,John T. Ramapuram,Bhaskaran Unnikrishan,Basavaprabhu Achappa,Deepak Madi,Satish Rao,Soundarya Mahalingam
Journal of the International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (JIAPAC). 2014; 13(5): 471
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article


    Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
  Related articles
    Article in PDF (456 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Materials and Me...
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded555    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 9    

Recommend this journal

  Sitemap | What's New | Copyright and Disclaimer | Privacy Notice
  © 2007 - Indian Journal of Community Medicine | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
  Online since 15th September, 2007