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Quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS in São Paulo, Brazil

OBJECTIVE: To assess quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. METHODS: Cross-sectional study conducted in an AIDS outpatient service based on consecutive sampling during the second half of the year 2002. There were selected 365 men and women aged 18 years or older who were attended by the infectious disease physician. Sociodemographic and recent drug use variables and data on clinical conditions were obtained using a questionnaire and quality of life was analyzed using WHOQOL-bref. RESULTS: Scores of the four domains (physical, psychological, social relationships and environment) were very similar. There were statistically significant differences in mean scores for the environment domain according to skin color, with blacks and pardos having lower scores. Women also had the lowest scores for the psychological and environmental domains. Higher income was significantly associated to higher scores in all domains of quality of life, except for the social relationships domain. Subjects with CD4+ cell counts below 200 cells/mm³ had lower scores for the physical domain. In all domains significantly lower scores were seen for those receiving psychiatric treatment or with an indication for such treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Despite differences in sex, skin color, income, and mental and immunological status, people living with HIV/AIDS have better (physical and psychological) quality of life than other patients but lower quality in social relationships domain. The latter domain could reflect stigmatization and discrimination associated to the difficulties of disclosing their HIV status in social settings and for a safe sex life.

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; Quality of life; Life style; Socioeconomic factors; Cross-sectional studies

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