Advancements in treatment and care for HIV have improved  exponentially in the last two decades and health outcomes for people  living with HIV in Australia are better than ever. For a growing number of  people living with HIV, life expectancy in  Australia is on par with people in the community who don’t have HIV.  That’s why today, people living with HIV are being encouraged to focus on improving their quality of life.

‘Quality of life’ can be tricky to define since it is very subjective and  encompasses a variety of different factors. As a broad guide, the World  Health Organization (WHO) uses the following description: “[Quality of life is] an individual’s perception of their position in life in the  context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in  relation to their goals, expectations, standards and concerns.”

Being Part Of A Community

Quality of life, or QoL (we love acronyms!) is influenced by basics/essentials of life such as functional wellbeing, human  relationships, personal safety, economic and housing security, and  access to healthcare. But true QoL goes beyond that, as the WHO  definition shows.

It’s about being part of a community in which you feel comfortable, can express yourself freely, and to which you can contribute. It’s about not  only having aspirations but making plans and taking action to achieve  those dreams and goals no matter how modest or ambitious.  Aiming for better health-related QoL involves having a more holistic approach to life in  general, and the net result includes better health overall.  So how do you measure QoL? Is there some kind of scale?

Well, as a matter of fact, there is. It’s the PozQoL scale (what did we say  about acronyms!) and it was developed in Australia, specifically for  people living with HIV through the cooperation of several leading  Australian health service providers.

The PozQoL Tool

People with HIV led and were  involved in the entire process of developing the PozQoL scale. The PozQoL tool is a brief questionnaire that provides an overall score that can be used to measure and track the quality of life of people with HIV. For example: I am enjoying life – (Not at all/Slightly/Moderately/Very/Extremely) The questions cover four areas of life that are deemed health-related  QoL domains:

⁃ The psychological domain, which includes mood, coping, hope for  or fear of the future, and self-worth.

⁃ The social domain, which is about personal and social life. It  includes feelings of belonging, support, and social stigma.

⁃ The health concerns domain, which is about how someone feels  about their own health. It includes health-related worries and  energy. It also includes how easy they find it to manage HIV and  HIV treatment.

⁃ The functional domain, which is about whether a person feels that  they can live what they would call a “normal” life. It includes independence, meaningful occupation, and good standard of  living.

How A Person Feels About Their Quality Of Life

Please note, this is NOT a test. It’s just a simple but meaningful set of  questions that have been carefully considered to help provide an insight  into how a person feels about their QoL.

Because, it’s how a person feels about themself and their life that is the  true indicator of QoL.

The PozQoL Scale can help identify any areas for improvement and by discussing these with their health care professional, the person who has used the tool may receive tailored information and be referred to other helpful resources where the issue can be tackled.

People living with HIV experience all the same problems as people without HIV, and then some. Those unique problems may include things like HIV-related stigmatisation, anxiety, or additional health issues.  That’s why it can be very beneficial for people living with HIV to consult with their healthcare provider who can help identify and resolve  particular issues and discuss ways of working towards improved QoL. Once you decide you want a better QoL you immediately become more  positive in your outlook and actively goal-driven. And the benefits keep  increasing the more you seek that quality.

So what are you waiting for? See your HIV Health Practitioner to discuss your QoL ASAP! For more information visit: viivhealthcare.com/en-au/hiv-thrive/

 

Sponsored by ViiV Healthcare

Copyright 2022. ViiV Healthcare Pty Ltd – All Rights Reserved | Registered Office: Level 3, 436 Johnston Street, Abbotsford, VIC 3067. NP-AU-HVU-OGM-220047. Date of preparation: June 2022. 

 

© Star Observer 2022 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.