The Amharic version of the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36) was used to measure quality of life among patients on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) at selected governmental hospitals in central and southern Ethiopia. The study was cross-sectional and used SF-36-specific software for automatic scoring of the form’s scales and dimensions. Pearson bivariate correlations showed moderate correlation between the SF-36 scales, ranging from 0.2673 between ‘general health’ and ‘vitality,’ to 0.8583 between ‘role physical’ and ‘role emotional.’ Cronbach’s-α was >0.70 for six out of eight multi-item scales, with values ranging from 0.6500 to 0.8860 for all scales, thus indicating good internal reliability of the Amharic version of the SF-36. The independent variables shown to positively affect mean scores were: duration of treatment, CD4 cell count, and adherence to doses of antiretrovirals. Participants treated for >12 months had higher mean scores for all domains than those who had been treated for ≤12 months. Likewise, those with a CD4 cell count >200 cells/mm3 had better mean scores for all scales except ‘social functioning’ and ‘mental health’ than those with counts ≤200. Participants adhering to treatment (in the last 15 days, according to self-report) had better mean scores for all scales except ‘role physical,’ ‘bodily pain’ and ‘vitality’ in comparison to those who were not adherent. The findings suggest that the Amharic version of the SF-36 is a valid and reliable health survey instrument for use in Ethiopia to assess the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS on HAART.
Keywords: adherence; Africa; assessment methods; CD4 count; HAART; quality of life; questionnaire design; questionnaires; Short Form 36
African Journal of AIDS Research 2010, 9(1): 31–40