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Cent Afr J Med. 2000 Aug;46(8):208-13.

Quality of life evaluation in patients with HIV-I infection: the impact of traditional medicine in Zimbabwe.

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  • 1Department of Psyhiatry, Faulty of Medicine, University of Zimbabwe, P O Box A 178, Avondale, Harare, Zimbabwe.



To evaluate the impact of phytotherapy (traditional medicine) in persons with HIV infection and to assess the quality of life of those persons with respect to HIV disease progression, including sociodemographic characteristics.


A community based open label non-intervention and uncontrolled cohort study.


Blair Research Institute Clinic.


A total of 105 HIV infected persons at various stages of HIV infection. Seventy-nine percent were on phytotherapy (PT) and 21% on conventional medical care (CMC).


(a) Assessment of quality of life of HIV infected persons on phytotherapy using the WHOQol instrument, and (b) assessment of quality of life of those persons in relation to the HIV disease progression using CD4 cell counts and viral load as measure of disease progression.


We interviewed 105 patients with various stages of HIV-I infection in a community based cohort study from June 1996 to May 1998, in Harare. The 96 (91.4%) asymptomatic and six (8.6%) symptomatic patients underwent regular physical examinations and had blood drawn for laboratory tests at the baseline afterwards at three month intervals over a period of two years.


The mean (s.d.) age was 34.9 (7.3) years; 64.4% were women and 60.3% were married. In multi variate analyses, age was significantly correlated with the level of independence domains (p = 0.032), whereas, gender was significantly correlated with social relationships' domains (p = 0.034). The type of treatment received was significantly correlated with spiritual domains (p = 0.045). Proportions of scores on five domains measuring different aspects of quality of life for patients on phytotherapy were much lower than those on conventional therapy (p < 0.0001, for all variables).


Our data support the role of phytotherapy in improving the quality of life of HIV-I infected patients, yet its pharmacological basis is unknown. The WHOQol instrument is a good measure of quality of life for patients with HIV infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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