The Association of Health-Related Quality of Life with Survival Among Persons with HIV Infection in the United States

Published in: Journal of General Internal Medicine, v. 20, no. 1, Jan. 2005, p. 21-27

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2005

by William Cunningham, Stephen Crystal, Samuel A. Bozzette, Ron D. Hays

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OBJECTIVES: Both clinical trials and observational studies of persons with HIV infection commonly include health-related quality of life (HRQOL) measures, but less is known about the relation of HRQOL to survival among persons with HIV since the development of effective antiretroviral treatment. DESIGN/PARTICIPANTS: Prospective cohort study of a national probability sample of 2,864 adults receiving HIV care. INDEPENDENT VARIABLES: The main independent variables were derived from the HIV Cost and Services Utilization Study (HCSUS) HRQOL measure, and include physical and mental HRQOL summary scores (divided into quartiles) constructed from the following items administered at baseline: physical functioning (9 items, a=0.91), role functioning (2 items, a=0.85), pain (2 items, a=0.84), general health perceptions (3 items, a=0.80), emotional well-being (7 items, a=0.90), social functioning (2 items, a=0.82), energy (2 items, a=0.74), and a single-item measure of disability days (days in bed for at least 0.5 day due to health). MAIN OUTCOME VARIABLE: Death between January 1996 and December 1999. ANALYSIS: Descriptive and multivariate adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression analysis of survival by physical and mental HRQOL. RESULTS: By December 1999, 17% of the sample had died. In unadjusted analysis, persons in the higher quartiles of physical HRQOL, as well as those in the higher quartiles of mental HRQOL at baseline, had significantly better survival than those in lower quartiles. In multiple regressions controlling for a number of sociodemographic and clinical variables, the hazard of death for those in the highest quartile of physical HRQOL was one quarter of that for those in the lowest quartile. This difference was similar in magnitude to that observed for being on highly active antiretroviral therapy versus no antiretrovirals in this population. By contrast, there was no unique association of mental HRQOL with survival. CONCLUSIONS: Physical HRQOL added prognostic information over and above the sociodemographic and routinely available clinical data such as CD4 count and stage of HIV infection. Measurement of HRQOL, which is often performed to identify problems or assess outcomes, is also useful prognostically.

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