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AIDS Care. 1998 Oct;10(5):629-37.

Impact of diarrhoea and faecal incontinence on the daily life of HIV-infected patients.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and AIDS, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Diarrhoea in HIV-1 infected persons is an important clinical problem. To improve care and counselling, information about the way, and the extent to which, diarrhoea influences the daily life of these patients can be useful. A cross-sectional descriptive study was performed at the HIV infection clinic of three major hospitals in Amsterdam. A diary, the Coates card system (to determine the relative severity of the symptoms) and an interview were used as outcome measures. Sixty-two patients participated and were classified into four groups: group 1 (minor diarrhoea, n = 26), group 2 (mild diarrhoea, n = 18), group 3 (moderate diarrhoea, n = 7) and group 4 (severe diarrhoea, n = 11). Diarrhoea was considered a very severe symptom in groups 2, 3 and 4. Even mild diarrhoea may have a debilitating impact on the day-to-day life of HIV-infected patients. Faecal incontinence occurs frequently. Patients can worry about their diarrhoea because of lack of information. Patients who do not have diarrhoea according to current definitions of it, consider diarrhoea to be equally problematic as those with (moderate) diarrhoea. More information on prognosis and practical solutions for patients are recommended.

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