Physical function impairments are seen among aging, HIV-infected persons on effective antiretroviral therapy (ART). The impact of physical function impairments on health-related quality of life (QoL) during ART is unknown.
This was a cross-sectional study including 359 HIV-infected patients, aged 45–65 years, on ART for more than 6 months.
Patients completed the SF-36 QoL questionnaire, 400-m walk, 5-time chair rise, and grip strength. HIV-associated mortality risk was calculated using the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) Index. Physical function, physical activity (>500 versus ≤500 kcal/week), and VACS scores were used to estimate QoL in multivariable linear regression.
For every 1 m/s increase in gait speed, we saw an estimated 11.8 [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.4, 15.2] point increase in the physical function scale with smaller differences across all subscales. For every 1 rise/s faster chair rise pace, we saw an estimated 16.0 (95% CI 9.1, 22.9) point increase in the physical function scale with smaller differences across all subscales. SF-36 scores were between 2.8 and 5.7 points higher among more physically active compared to less active patients. A 1 kg increase in grip strength was associated with a 0.2 (95% CI 0.01, 0.3) higher mental health score, but there were no differences in other subscales. VACS scores did not improve the model.
Faster gait speed and chair rise time, and greater physical activity were associated with greater QoL, independent of HIV-related mortality risk. Targeted exercise programs to increase physical activity and improve speed and power should be evaluated as interventions to improve QoL during ART.