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Med Care. 1996 Jan;34(1):44-57.

Health values of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus. Relationship to mental health and physical functioning.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


To assess the health values of patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and examine the relationships between their health values and health status at two points in time, the authors sought to determine whether patients' physical and mental health statuses were good predictors of how they valued their current state of health. One hundred thirty-nine patients with various stages of HIV infection were interviewed in a prospective cohort study based in a primary care practice of a community-based teaching hospital. Patients were interviewed twice at 6-month intervals using three health value measures--the time trade off, rating scale, and Quality of Well-being Scale--and three health status measures: the 18-item Mental Health Inventory, the Dyspnea-Fatigue Index, and the Medical Outcomes Study SF-36 Health Survey. The health status of HIV-infected patients was compromised and, with the exception of mental health, generally was worse among patients with more advanced HIV-infection. Rating scale and Quality of Well-being Scale scores were related inversely to disease stage, but time-trade off scores generally were higher regardless of disease stage. Health value measures showed moderate relationships with measures of physical functioning (r = 0.34-0.68) but only a fair relationship with mental health (r = 0.00-0.48). The health status of HIV-infected patients who remained asymptomatic or remained symptomatic but without developing acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) changed little over 6 months, whereas the health status of patients with AIDS and of patients manifesting progression of HIV-infection deteriorated over time. In contrast, health values, particularly time-tradeoff scores, remained stable even in the face of changes in health status and disease progression. With the exception of mental health, the impact of HIV infection on health status tends to parallel the clinical stage of disease. Health values of HIV-infected patients, however, generally are high and correlate better with physical functioning than with mental health.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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