Before the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy, the majority of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients experienced diarrhea.
Dr Uzma Siddiqui and colleagues compared the prevalence of diarrhea among HIV-infected and uninfected patients in the highly active antiretroviral therapy era.
The research team evaluated the impact of diarrhea on health-related quality of life in these patients.
|HIV-infected patients with diarrhea had worse health-related quality of life|
|Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology|
The team evaluated 163 consecutive HIV-infected patients, and 253 HIV-seronegative control subjects.
The researchers ascertained diarrheal symptoms experienced by the patients using a validated questionnaire.
The health-related quality of life of these patients was assessed using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 and Medical Outcomes Study-HIV Health surveys.
The researchers found among the 163 HIV-infected patients, the median CD4 cell count was 370 cells/mm3.
The team reported that 150 individuals were taking highly active antiretroviral therapy.
Significantly more HIV-infected subjects reported having 3 or more bowel movements daily within the past 7 days than did HIV-seronegative subjects.
This difference between the groups persisted even after adjusting for potential confounding variables.
In addition, the team observed that diarrhea was more common in HIV-infected patients than in control subjects when assessed by several other criteria.
HIV-infected patients reported significantly worse health-related quality of life across all domains of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36.
The researchers noted that HIV-infected patients with diarrhea had worse health-related quality of life in nearly all domains of the Medical Outcomes Study-HIV Health Survey.
Dr Siddiqui's team concluded," Diarrhea remains an important clinical problem in HIV-infected patients."
"Diarrhea is associated with significant impairments in health-related quality of life."
"It is important that healthcare providers specifically evaluate their HIV-infected patients for diarrhea so that these symptoms may be optimally managed."