Evolving symptom networks in relation to HIV-positive duration among people living with HIV: A network analysis

Zheng Zhu, Huan Wen, Zhongfang Yang, Shuyu Han, Yanfen Fu, Lin Zhang, Yan Hu, Bei Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To explore and visualize the relationships among multiple symptoms in people living with HIV (PLWH) and compare centrality indices and the density of symptom networks among groups of individuals with different HIV-positive durations. Methods: We conducted a secondary analysis of data from the HIV-related Symptoms Monitoring Survey conducted in China. Networks were constructed among 27 symptoms. Centrality properties, including strength and closeness, and network density were used to describe relationships among symptoms in 5 different HIV-positive duration groups. Results: The findings showed that PLWH with longer HIV-positive durations did not have more severe symptoms; instead, their symptom networks were denser than those of their newly HIV-diagnosed counterparts (F = 27.073, P < 0.001). Fatigue was the most severe and central symptom in PLWH with an HIV-positive duration <10 years (rS = 7.79–10.09, rB = 18–44, rC = 0.01). Confusion was the most central symptom across the 3 centrality indices (rS = 11.81, rB = 14.00, rC = 0.02) in PLWH who had HIV-positive durations >10 years. Conclusion: This study demonstrates a need to include an assessment of PLWH symptom networks as an essential component of HIV care. We recommended evaluating cognitive function and cognitive training as essential components of HIV care for long-term survivors, even in younger populations (aged ≤50 years).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-509
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • HIV-positive duration
  • Network analysis
  • Symptom management
  • Symptom network
  • Symptomics
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Fatigue
  • Male
  • HIV Infections/diagnosis
  • Confusion/diagnosis
  • Health Surveys
  • China
  • Adult
  • Female

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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