We studied the reliability and validity of the World Health Organization quality of life (WHOQOL) assessment instrument in patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. WHOQOL-BREF was used to assess 136 HIV-infected outpatients. The results were analyzed and compared with data from 213 healthy persons. The Cronbach's α for internal consistency ranged from 0.74 to 0.85 across domains in HIV-infected patients. The test-retest reliability ranged from 0.64 to 0.79 across domains at average 4-week retest interval. Factor analysis identified four major factors: social, psychological, environment, and physical, consistent with the four domains of the instrument. The scores of all four domains correlated positively with self-evaluated health status and happiness (r range: 0.52-0.60 and 0.55-0.73 across domains, respectively), and correlated negatively with the number and severity of symptoms (r range: -0.40 to -0.47 and -0.41 to -0.52, respectively). The scores of physical, psychological and social domains, but not the environment domain, discriminated between healthy persons and HIV-infected patients (all p < 0.01). We conclude that the WHOQOL-BREF can be a useful quality-of-life instrument in patients with HIV infection.
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