HIV-positive people who have their virus under control thanks to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment still report a lower quality of life than those without HIV. Publishing their findings in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study comparing 52 HIV-positive individuals with 23 HIV-negative controls matched for age, sex, education, body-mass index (BMI), fitness level, activity level, and alcohol consumption.

The researchers determined quality of life through the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey, and calculated a mental health summary (MHS) score and a physical health summary (PHS) score.

The control group had a significantly lower proportion of smokers; smoking is highly common among people living with HIV.

According to various dimensions of health, those with HIV scored worse on measures for general health, physical functioning, ability to complete everyday tasks such as work or housework, mental health, vitality, distress over health, and cognitive functioning.

In the HIV-positive group, being a woman and having depression were associated with a lower MHS score. Among the HIV-negative individuals, a lower MHS score was associated with less education, a higher score on a depression test and a worse score on a cognitive functioning test.

In the HIV-positive group, less education, a higher depression score and a higher BMI were associated with a lower PHS score. In the controls, less education and a lower level of physical fitness were associated with a lower PHS score.

To read the study, click here.