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The health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of people with HIV is lower than in the general population, but it is unknown how it compares with that of persons with other chronic medical conditions. We compared HRQOL in HIV with HRQOL in diabetes mellitus type 1, diabetes mellitus type 2 and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In addition, we investigated factors associated with HRQOL in HIV.Cross-sectional study.HRQOL was measured with the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36-item Health Survey in a nationwide sample of people with HIV in care in the Netherlands and on combination antiretroviral therapy for at least 6 months. We added data from studies in diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2, and RA. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine: the association between disease group and a poor HRQOL, and patient factors associated with poor HRQOL in HIV.The odds of a poor physical HRQOL in the HIV group were comparable with the odds in diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2, but lower than in RA patients. The odds of a poor mental HRQOL in HIV were higher than in the other groups. In HIV, a history of AIDS, longer duration of combination antiretroviral therapy and severe comorbidity were associated with a poor physical HRQOL. Sub-Saharan African descent and CD4+ cell count of less than 350 cells/μl were associated with poor mental HRQOL.People with HIV were more likely to have a poor mental HRQOL than patients with other chronic conditions. Addressing mental health should be an integral part of outpatient HIV care.