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Relationship of physical function and quality of life among persons aging with HIV infection

Erlandson, Kristine M.; Allshouse, Amanda A.; Jankowski, Catherine M.; Mawhinney, Samantha; Kohrt, Wendy M.; Campbell, Thomas B.

doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000384
Clinical Science: Concise Communication

Objective: 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.

Design: This was a cross-sectional study including 359 HIV-infected patients, aged 45–65 years, on ART for more than 6 months.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

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University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

Correspondence to Kristine M. Erlandson, 12700 E. 19th Avenue, Mail Stop B168, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Tel: +1 303 724 4941; fax: +1 303 724 4926; e-mail:

Received 9 May, 2014

Revised 10 June, 2014

Accepted 11 May, 2014

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© 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.