Quality of life in people living with HIV in Romania and Spain

Meaghan Kall*, Ujué Fresán, Danielle Guy, Graham Brown, Cristina Burgui, Jesús Castilla, Victor Ionel Grecu, Florentina Dumitrescu, Valerie Delpech, Jeffrey V. Lazarus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is a crucial component in assessing and addressing the unmet needs of people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as HIV. The aim of the study was to examine and compare the health-related quality of life of people living with HIV in Romania and Spain, compared to the general populations of each country. 

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among adults (≥ 18 years) attending for HIV care in Romania and Spain from October 2019 to March 2020. The survey included two validated HRQoL instruments: a generic instrument, EQ-5D-5L, and an HIV-specific instrument, PozQoL, and questions on socio-demographics, HIV-related characteristics, physical and mental health conditions, and substance use. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine factors associated with HRQoL. 

Results: 570 people living with HIV responded (170 in Romania and 400 in Spain). The median age was 31 (18–67) in Romania and 52 (19–83) in Spain. Anxiety/depression symptoms were frequently reported by people with HIV (Romania: 50% vs 30% in the Romanian population; Spain: 38% vs 15% in Spanish population). Spain reported higher mean EQ-5Dutility scores than Romania (0.88 and 0.85, respectively) but identical PozQoL scores (3.5, on a scale of 0–5). In both countries, health concerns were highlighted as a key issue for people with HIV. In multivariable analysis, two factors were consistently associated with worse HRQoL in people with HIV: bad or very bad self-rated health status and presence of a mental health condition. In Romania, being gay/bisexual and being disabled/unemployed were associated with worse HRQoL. Whereas in Spain, older age and financial insecurity were significant predictors. 

Conclusions: Our results indicated a good HRQoL for people living with HIV in Romania and Spain; however, worse HRQoL profiles were characterized by health concerns, poor self-rated health status, and the presence of mental health conditions. This study highlights the importance of monitoring HRQoL in people living with HIV due to the chronic nature of the disease. In this highly-treatment experienced group, disparities were found, particularly highlighting mental health as an area which needs more attention to improve the well-being of people living with HIV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number898
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue numberSupplement 2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The INTEGRATE Joint Action was co-funded by the 3rd Health Programme of the European Union under 215 grant agreement no 761319.

JVL is supported by a Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities Miguel Servet grant (Instituto de Salud Carlos III/ESF, European Union [CP18/00074]) and with DG further acknowledges support to ISGlobal from the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities through the "Centro de Excelencia Severo Ochoa 2019-2023" Programme (CEX2018-000806-S), and from the Government of Catalonia through the CERCA Programme.

Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s).

Citation: Kall, M., Fresán, U., Guy, D. et al. Quality of life in people living with HIV in Romania and Spain. BMC Infect Dis 21, 898 (2021).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-021-06567-w


  • Chronic diseases
  • EQ-5D
  • Health-related quality of life
  • PozQoL
  • Romania
  • Spain


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