Prevalence and correlates of restless legs syndrome in men living with HIV

Douglas M. Wallace, Maria L. Alcaide, William K. Wohlgemuth, Deborah L. Jones Weiss, Claudia Uribe Starita, Sanjay R. Patel, Valentina Stosor, Andrew Levine, Carling Skvarca, Dustin M. Long, Anna Rubtsova, Adaora A. Adimora, Stephen J. Gange, Amanda B. Spence, Kathryn Anastos, Bradley E. Aouizerat, Yaacov Anziska, Naresh M. Punjabi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Data on the prevalence and correlates of restless legs syndrome (RLS) in people with HIV are limited. This study sought to determine the prevalence of RLS, associated clinical correlates, and characterize sleep-related differences in men with and without HIV. Methods Sleep-related data were collected in men who have sex with men participating in the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS). Demographic, health behaviors, HIV status, comorbidities, and serological data were obtained from the MACS visit coinciding with sleep assessments. Participants completed questionnaires, home polysomnography, and wrist actigraphy. RLS status was determined with the Cambridge-Hopkins RLS questionnaire. RLS prevalence was compared in men with and without HIV. Multinomial logistic regression was used to examine correlates of RLS among all participants and men with HIV alone. Sleep-related differences were examined in men with and without HIV by RLS status. Results The sample consisted of 942 men (56% HIV+; mean age 57 years; 69% white). The prevalence of definite RLS was comparable in men with and without HIV (9.1% vs 8.7%). In multinomial regression, HIV status was not associated with RLS prevalence. However, white race, anemia, depression, and antidepressant use were each independently associated with RLS. HIV disease duration was also associated with RLS. Men with HIV and RLS reported poorer sleep quality, greater sleepiness, and had worse objective sleep efficiency/ fragmentation than men without HIV/RLS. Conclusions The prevalence of RLS in men with and without HIV was similar. Screening for RLS may be considered among people with HIV with insomnia and with long-standing disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0258139
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • HIV Infections/epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Restless Legs Syndrome/epidemiology
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders/epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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