The will to live among HIV-infected patients

Joel Tsevat, Susan N. Sherman, Judith A. McElwee, Karen L. Mandell, Loretta A. Simbartl, Frank A. Sonnenberg, Floyd J. Fowler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Scopus citations


Background: Patients infected with HIV value both longevity and health. Objective: To understand how HIV-infected patients value their health. Design: Interview study. Setting: Regional treatment center for HIV. Patients: 51 patients with HIV infection. Measurements: Life-satisfaction, health rating, time-tradeoff, and standard-gamble scores. Results: Of the 51 patients, 49% (95% Cl, 35% to 63%) said that their life was better currently than it was before they contracted HIV infection; only 29% said that life was currently worse. The mean (± SD) time-tradeoff score was 0.95 ± 0.10, indicating that, on average, patients would give up no more than 5% of their remaining life expectancy in their current state of health in exchange for a shorter but healthy life. The average health rating score was 71.0 ± 18.7 on a scale of 0 to 100, and the average standard-gamble score was 0.80 ± 0.27. Factors contributing to life satisfaction and time-tradeoff scores included spirituality and having children. Conclusion: Many patients with HIV have a strong will to live, and many feel that life with HIV is better than it was before they became infected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-198
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 3 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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