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To study the effect of HIV infection on quality of life (QOL) during pregnancy and puerperium, QOL was measured in a cohort study at St. Francis Hospital Nsambya, Kampala, Uganda. Dartmouth COOP charts were administered to 132 HIV-positive and 399 HIV-negative women at 36 weeks of pregnancy and six weeks post-partum. Responses were coded from 0 = best health-status to 4 = worst health-status and scores of 3-4 defined as poor. Odds ratios (OR) (95% confidence intervals(CI)) for poor scores were calculated and independent predictors of poor QOL examined using logistic regression. In pregnancy, HIV-positive women were more likely to have poor scores in feelings: OR = 3.2(1.9-5.3), daily activities: OR = 2.8(1.4-5.5), pain: OR = 2.1(1.3-3.5), overall health: OR = 1.7(1.1-2.7) and QOL: OR = 7.2(3.6-14.7), all p= <or= 0.01. Differences in physical fitness, change in health, social activities and social support were not statistically significant (all p>0.2). HIV infection was independently associated with poor QOL: OR = 8.5(3.8-19). Findings in puerperium were similar to those in pregnancy except more HIV-positive women had poor scores in social activities: OR = 2.5(1.4-4.7) and change in health: OR = 5.4(2-14.5) and infant death also predicted poor QOL: OR = 6.7(2.4-18.5). The findings reflect HIV's adverse impact on maternal QOL and the need for interventions to alleviate this infection's social and emotional effects.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





614 - 620


Adult, Female, HIV Infections, Health Status, Humans, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Infectious, Puerperal Disorders, Quality of Life, Uganda