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Is symptom prevalence and burden associated with HIV treatment status and disease stage among adult HIV outpatients in Kenya? A cross-sectional self-report study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kennedy Nkhoma, Aabid Ahmed, Zipporah Alli, Lorraine Sherr, Richard Harding

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1470
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number12
Early online date27 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019


King's Authors


People with HIV experience a high prevalence and burden of physical and psychological symptoms throughout their disease trajectory. These have important public and clinical health implications. We aimed to measure: the seven-day period prevalence of symptoms, the most burdensome symptoms, and determine if self-reported symptom burden is associated with treatment status, clinical stage and physical performance. We conducted a cross-sectional study among adult (aged at least 18 years) patients with HIV, attending HIV outpatient care in Kenya. Data was gathered through self-report using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale-Short Form (MSAS-SF), file extraction (sociodemographic data, treatment status, CD4 count, clinical stage) and through observation using the Karnofsky Performance Scale (KPS). Multivariable ordinal logistic regression assessed the association of symptom burden (MSAS-SF) controlling for demographic and clinical variables. Of the 475 participants approached, 400 (84.2%) participated. Ordinal logistic regression showed that being on HIV treatment was associated lower global distress index (in quartiles) (odds ratio.45, 95% CI.23 to.88; p = 0.019). Pain and symptom burden still persist in the era of antiretroviral therapy. Routine clinical practice should incorporate assessment and management of pain and symptoms irrespective of disease stage and treatment status in order to achieve the proposed fourth 90” in the UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets (that is good quality of life).

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