Body image in patients with HIV/AIDS: assessment of a new psychometric measure and its medical correlates.


HIV infection and its treatment can have significant effects on physical appearance and functioning, which can affect self-perceived body image. We assessed the psychometric properties of a newly developed Body Image Scale (BIS), a subjective measure of body image perception in persons with HIV infection, as well as the scale's relationship to disease progression, symptoms, and demographic factors. HIV-positive men (n = 129) and women (n = 21) attending two outpatient HIV clinics were administered the BIS survey along with a one-page questionnaire. A subset (n = 38) were administered the survey on two occasions to assess test-retest reliability. Nearly half of the sample (46%) had AIDS and 25% had a CD4 count below 200 cells/mm(3) within the prior 3 months. The BIS had unidimensional factor structure, good internal consistency reliability (Chronbach alpha = 0.91), and good test-retest reliability (r = 0.71, p < 0.001) after controlling for the length of interval between assessments. Patients' current perception of their body image was worse then what they perceived it to be prior to HIV infection (p < 0.001), but better than their perception of how others view people with HIV (p < 0.001). The presence of symptomatic disease (p < 0.001) and a diagnosis of AIDS (p = 0.02) were associated with a less favorable body image, although laboratory markers of disease progression (CD4 count and plasma HIV viral load) were not. We conclude that the BIS has good construct validity and is a highly reproducible measure of self-perceptive of body image in HIV-infected patients. Further exploration of its relationship to psychological well being, medication adherence and other aspects of medical care is indicated.

Cite this paper

@article{Martinez2005BodyII, title={Body image in patients with HIV/AIDS: assessment of a new psychometric measure and its medical correlates.}, author={S Manuel Martinez and Carol A. Kemper and Catherine A Diamond and Glenn J Wagner}, journal={AIDS patient care and STDs}, year={2005}, volume={19 3}, pages={150-6} }