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24-08-2019 | Uitgave 12/2019

Quality of Life Research 12/2019

Depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and health-related quality of life among older adults with HIV

Quality of Life Research > Uitgave 12/2019
Blair Olson, Wilson Vincent, Jaimie P. Meyer, Trace Kershaw, Kathleen J. Sikkema, Timothy G. Heckman, Nathan B. Hansen
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In the United States, approximately 45% of persons living with HIV (PLHIV) are ≥ 50 years of age. Many older PLHIV have multi-morbidities that complicate HIV infection and/or interfere with, or are exacerbated by, antiretroviral treatment. Physical health symptoms and psychiatric disorders, particularly depression, can worsen life quality in older PLHIV.


This study assessed associations among physical symptoms, indicators of HIV-related health status (i.e., time since diagnosis; ever diagnosed with AIDS; having attained viral suppression), depressive symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in older PLHIV. Regression analyses examined data from 296 PLHIV ≥ 50 years of age living in Cincinnati, OH, Columbus, OH, and New York City.


Depressive symptoms and physical symptoms, particularly those related to appearance and sexual functioning, most strongly predicted HRQoL. Indicators of HIV health status did not significantly predict HRQoL. Depressive symptoms were a particularly robust predictor of HRQoL, even when accounting for physical health symptoms.


Findings suggest that symptom management is critical to HRQoL in older PLHIV, and symptoms related to physical appearance and sexual functioning should not be overlooked in this growing population.

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