The '4th 90' target as a strategy to improve health-related quality of life of people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa

Prudence Tatiana Nti Mvilongo, Jef Vanhamel, Magdalena Siegel, Christiana Nöstlinger

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Objectives Next to monitoring the clinical health of people living with HIV through the triple 90 targets, a 4th 90 target was proposed in 2016 to improve HIV health-related quality of life (HrQoL) by addressing comorbidities and other psychosocial challenges. This scoping review aimed at understanding related psychosocial determinants, including strategies to improve HrQoL for people living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as an initiative to ameliorate the continuum of care. Methods This scoping review followed PRISMA guidelines. We searched PubMed and Wiley databases from 01 January 2011 to 19 April 2021 for articles on HrQoL, including determinants and related interventions in SSA. We also conducted a manual search to retrieve grey literature on the '4th 90' target. The six domains of HrQoL defined in the most widely used instrument (i.e., WHOQOL-HIV-BREF tool) served as a guiding framework. Results Thirty-three articles were included for analysis. Seven articles illustrated the ongoing debate on the 4th 90 target, highlighting challenges with measuring indicators. Nine articles discussed HrQoL domains, reporting the highest scores in the spirituality and physical domains and lowest scores in the social and environmental domains. The presence of stigma and depressive symptoms was associated with low HrQoL. Seventeen articles discussed HrQoL interventions, highlighting that improved HrQoL enhanced health-seeking behaviour. Only two interventions addressed the environmental domain highlighting the fact that selection of intervention aims were not evidence led. Conclusion Introducing the 4th 90 target in SSA as a strategy to enhance HrQoL amongst people living with HIV could improve the HIV continuum of care; however, efforts are required to effectively address environmental and structural determinants.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1026-1043
Number of pages18
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2022


  • health related quality of life
  • HIV
  • scoping review
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • CARE
  • TIME


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