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Measuring quality of life among people living with HIV: A systematic review of reviews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vanessa Cooper, Jane Clatworthy, Richard Harding, Jennifer Whetham, Emerge Consortium

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220
JournalHealth and Quality of Life Outcomes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2017


King's Authors


AIM: A systematic review of reviews was conducted to identify and appraise brief measures of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) that have been used in peer-reviewed research with people living with HIV.

METHODS: The review was conducted in two stages: 1) search of electronic databases to identify systematic reviews of tools used to measure HRQoL in adults living with HIV, published since the year 2000; 2) selection of HRQol scales from those identified in the reviews. Inclusion criteria included scales that could be self-administered in 10 min or less, covering at least 3 domains of quality of life (physical function, social/role function and mental/emotional function). For generic scales, inclusion criteria included the availability of normative data while for HIV-specific scales, patient input into the development of the scale was required.

RESULTS: Ten reviews met the inclusion criteria. Nine generic scales met the inclusion criteria: the EuroQol five dimensions questionnaire (EQ-5D); Health Utilities Index; McGill Quality of Life questionnaire; Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) Short Form (SF)-12; SF-36; World Health Organisation Quality of Life (WHOQOL- BREF), Questions of Life Satisfaction (FLZM) and SF-20. Available psychometric data supported the EQ-5D and SF-36. Seven HIV-specific scales met the inclusion criteria: the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG)-21; HIV-QL-31; MOS-HIV; Multidimensional Quality of Life Questionnaire for Persons with HIV/AIDS (MQOL-HIV), PROQOL-HIV, Symptom Quality of Life Adherence (HIV-SQUAD) and the WHOQOL-HIV BREF. Of the HIV -specific measures, the MOS-HIV was considered to have the most well-established psychometric properties, however limitations identified in the reviews included insufficient input from people living with HIV in the development of the scale, cross-cultural relevance and continued applicability. Two relatively new measures, the WHOQOL-HIV BREF and PROQOL-HIV, were considered to have promising psychometric properties and may have more relevance to people living with HIV.

CONCLUSION: The findings highlight the need for further validation of HRQoL measures in people living with HIV. The choice of one measure over another is likely to be influenced by the purpose of the quality of life assessment and the domains of HRQoL that are most relevant to the specific research or clinical question.

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