Table 2

Overview of studies presenting HRQL values based on generic health profiles for HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

1st Author


AIDS population

QoL measure

Authors' main conclusions

O'Keefe (1996)

South Africa (Western Cape)

WHO stages 1-4. Outpatients.


HIV subjects scored significantly lower on all sub-scales compared to controls. The decline in function occurred early in disease by WHO stages 1 and 2. Insignificant differences in functioning between different CD4 strata.

Sebit (2000)

Zimbabwe (Harare)

Various stages, excluding the most severely ill.


WHOQOL is a good measure of quality of life for patients with HIV infection. Phytotherapy (traditional medicine) has a role in improving QoL.

Kaaya (2002)

Tanzania (Dar es Salaam)

HIV positive women attending antenatal clinics

SF-36 and HS CL-25

Good correlation between SF-36 scores and HSCL-25. HSCL-25 is useful for screening of depression, but not sufficiently informative to gauge severity and inform management of depressive disorders.

Hughes (2004)

South Africa (Cape Town)

WHO stages 3-4, or CD4<200. Receiving HAART.

EQ-5D VAS + profiles

HRQL is severely compromised in stages 3 and 4, including the four EQ-5D domains of mobility, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression. The domain self care less affected.

Jelsma (2005)

South Africa (Cape Town)

WHO stages 3-4, or CD4<200. Receiving HAART.

EQ-5D VAS + profiles

Even in resource poor settings HRQL can be greatly improved by treatment with HAART, and there seems to be negligible impact from side-effects of the drugs. Improvements were found for all the five EQ-5D dimensions of health, but largest for pain/discomfort.

Nuwagaba-Biribonwoha (2006)

Uganda (Kampala)

HIV positive and negative women attending antenatal care.

Dartmouth COOP

Dartmouth COOP was found to be acceptable and feasible, and showed that HIV adversely affects maternal QoL among pregnant women. HIV positive women had poorer scores on six out of nine health dimensions.

Louwagie (2007)

South Africa (Free State)

WHO stage 4 or CD4<200. Receiving HAART.

EQ-5D VAS+index

EQ-5D was highly sensitive to HAART, with improvements after initiation of treatment on all five health dimensions. This supports its use in future evaluation of HIV/AIDS care. Results suggest that HAART if effective in improving people's self reported HRQL.

McInerney (2008)

South Africa (KwaZulu-Natal)

Patients > 18 years receiving HAART.


Individuals who reported a greater length of time on medications, fewer co-morbid health problems, and greater social support had better physical functioning.

Robberstad and Olsen Cost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation 2010 8:5   doi:10.1186/1478-7547-8-5

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