Background: The measurement of quality of life in HIV-infected individuals represents an important aspect of assessing the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in resource poor settings. We assessed the performance of the Luganda version of the Medical Outcomes Study HIV Health Survey (MOS-HIV) in HIV-infected individuals in Entebbe, Uganda. Methods: We recruited a subgroup of study participants (≥18 years) from the DART trial (a study evaluating different ART management strategies), before starting ART (DART group (DG); n=276), and HIV-infected individuals not yet receiving ART (Entebbe Cohort Group (ECG); n= 160). Participants were interviewed using the culturally adjusted MOS-HIV, a 35-item questionnaire that assesses the functional status and well being of HIV-infected individuals. The questionnaire was administered face-to-face in the local language (Luganda). The degree to which responses were internally consistent was evaluated. Results: We observed a 100% response and good acceptability of the instrument. The majority of the participants were females (64% DG and 76% ECG). Internal consistency reliability coefficients for multi-item scales were > 0.70 in the two groups except for role functioning (0.36), social functioning (0.69) and mental health (0.68) in the DG and for vitality (0.65) in the ECG. Item-internal consistency and discriminant validity were satisfactory, ranging from 0.40-0.87 for those dimensions that were found reliable. Factor analysis revealed that physical health (PH) and mental health (MH) components together accounted for 57% of the variance. Overall PH had the highest factor loadings from vitality, pain and physical subscales and for Overall MH the highest factor loading was quality of life. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the feasibility of assessing quality of life in HIV-infected individuals using the Luganda version of the MOS-HIV. Further work using repeated measure designs is underway to identify the sources of variability of responses in those dimensions that were found unreliable in this study.
XVI International AIDS Conference, Toronto, Canada,13-18 August 2006: Abstract number WEPE0254.