PozQoL informs the Australian National HIV Strategy through the HIV Futures Study

Image from the cover of the HIV Futures 9 report

HIV Futures

HIV Futures is a survey of QoL among PLHIV in Australia. The survey runs every two to three years, and has been running since 1997.

By the end of 2022, the Australian Government aims to increase the proportion of:

  • People with HIV who are diagnosed to 95%
  • People diagnosed with HIV who are on treatment to 95%
  • Those on treatment for whom HIV cannot be detected in their body to 95%

In addition, the government aims to see 75% of people living with HIV (PLHIV) reporting good quality of life (QoL) by 2022.

Australian Government Targets

The Australian Department of Health funds HIV Futures. The findings from the survey help to show whether or not Australia has reached the target of 75% of PLHIV reporting good QoL.

The HIV Futures study also collects information from PLHIV about:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Financial and housing security
  • Treatment use
  • Service access
  • HIV-related stigma
  • Social support

Government and community organisations use this information to plan their services.

HIV Futures 9 (2018 and 2019)

The HIV Futures 9 survey, which ran in 2018 and 2019, included two measures of QoL in the survey:

  • The PozQoL Scale
  • One question asking people to tell us about their overall wellbeing

We also included another general health and wellbeing scale, namely the short-form 36 (SF 36) questionnaire.

We used PozQoL because it is a short questionnaire that has been specifically developed to focus on factors that are likely to affect QoL among PLHIV. These include things such as stigma, daily use of antiretroviral medication, and fears about becoming unwell in the future. For this reason, PozQoL is a more nuanced and specific QoL measure than other generic health-related QoL scales. This makes it appropriate to use for long-term monitoring of QoL in this population.

However, as PozQoL is specific to people living with HIV, we also included a general and widely used health and wellbeing scale (SF36) so we had data to compare our findings with those from surveys of the general population or people living with other chronic conditions.

Findings from HIV Futures 9

In HIV Futures 9, 63.1% of survey respondents reported a PozQoL score of 3.0 or higher, which indicates good QoL. In other words, 63.1% reported good QoL, while 36.9% reported poorer QoL.

People who reported good QoL in the PozQoL scale were more likely to report good overall wellbeing. This suggests that QoL is related to general health and wellbeing and that the PozQoL scale is useful in measuring this.

People who reported good QoL were more likely to:

  • Be in the paid workforce
  • Have a higher income
  • Have no recent financial stress
  • Live in an inner city area
  • Have better general health
  • Have a greater level of connectedness to others
  • Live with a partner or spouse

You can find more information information about the HIV Futures 9 Study in the executive summary and the full report.

HIV Futures 10 (2021)

Data collection for HIV Futures 10 finished in March 2022 and is currently being analysed. Watch this space!

About Jen and her work

Dr Jennifer Power is an Associate Professor and Principal Research Fellow at the Australia Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society (ARCSHS). She leads the HIV Futures Study. ARCSHS is a centre for social research into sexuality, health, and the social dimensions of human relationships. You can follow their work on Twitter and Facebook.

This story was updated on 27 October 2022