The Facial Appearance Inventory: Development and Preliminary Evidence for Reliability and Validity in People with HIV and Lipoatrophy

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Facial lipoatrophy is common in people on antiretroviral (ARV) regimens for HIV/AIDS and can impair health-related quality of life.


We developed the Facial Appearance Inventory (FAI) to measure the impact of ARV-associated facial lipoatrophy.


Qualitative methods were used to identify key concerns of people with facial lipoatrophy. The major concerns were used to identify 24 items for the FAI. The FAI was administered to a cross-sectional sample of 96 people with HIV and facial lipoatrophy and compared to the established Assessment of Body Change Distress (ABCD) and MOS-HIV questionnaires.


Mean age was 48.8 years, 87.5% were men, 69.8% were Caucasian, and 60% had some college education. Mean CD4 count was 435 cells/mm3. There were few missing data, and the summary score showed no floor or ceiling effects, with a mean (SD) of 25.6 (17.9). Cronbach's alpha for the scale was 0.98. FAI items satisfied criteria for convergent and discriminant construct validity. FAI items were more strongly correlated with mental health domains (R = 0.33) than with physical health domains (R = 0.26) on the MOS-HIV. Patients with greater severity of lipoatrophy had significantly worse scores than those with less severity (James 3-4, vs. James 0-2). There were no significant differences for FAI scores by age group, income group, CD4 cell count, or HIV viral load group. Those with less education and those with darker skin types reported less impairment (P < .05).


The 24-item FAI shows evidence for reliability, validity, and usefulness as a measure of the impact of facial lipoatrophy.

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