News & Media > Quality of life for people with HIV in the UK remains poor, despite treatment successes

Quality of life for people with HIV in the UK remains poor, despite treatment successes

Wednesday 2 April 2014

People in the UK living with HIV suffer significantly worse health-related quality of life compared to the general population, even though advances in antiretroviral treatment (ART) mean that the majority of HIV positive people now experience a near normal lifespan, and that for most, the virus itself is under control.

The research - presented at the joint British HIV Association/British Association for Sexual Health and HIV conference in Liverpool (1-4 April) - measured the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of more than 3,000 people with HIV between 2011 and 2012 and compared it to HRQoL of more than 7,000 people from a UK general population study carried out in the same period. Compared to the general population, people with HIV experienced lower HRQoL in all of the areas they were questioned about, but especially anxiety and depression. Being female, non-white, without children and having a lower level of education were associated with lower HRQoL. The negative effect of HIV on overall HRQoL was similar to heavy smoking.

Dr Alec Miners from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the study, said: "While advances in treatment have extended the life expectancy of people with HIV to near normal durations, these people are still significantly worse off than the general population in terms of their life quality. It seems that there remains immense value in preventing further infections, from the points of view of both those affected by HIV, and the NHS."

Other research presented at the conference shows that people with HIV experience higher rates of domestic violence than the general population, particularly young women in heterosexual relationships, with more than 40% of HIV positive women reporting violence against them by their partner. Men who have sex with men (MSM) were also at increased risk of violence. The problems were rarely disclosed to health professionals.

Meeting location
Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool
Kings Dock, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool, Merseyside, L3 4FP. Tel: 0151 475 8888

BHIVA is the leading UK professional association representing professionals in HIV care. Founded in 1995, it is a well-established and highly respected organisation with national influence committed to providing excellence in the care of those living with and affected by HIV. BHIVA acts as a national advisory body to professions and other organisations on all aspects of HIV care. BHIVA also provides a national platform for HIV care and is represented on international, national and local committees dealing with HIV care. In addition, BHIVA works to promote undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education within HIV care. Visit for more information about BHIVA, and follow us on Twitter @BritishHIVAssoc

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) is the lead professional representative body for those managing STIs and HIV in the UK. It seeks to innovate and deliver excellent tailored education and training to healthcare professionals, trainers and trainees in the UK, and to determine, monitor and maintain standards in provision of sexual health and HIV care.