The Chronic Illness Quality of Life Ladder (CIQOLL) underwent psychometric testing in a sample of 278 women with HIV disease. The CIQOLL, a self-anchoring striving scale based on Cantril's Ladder, measures seven domains (physical , emotional, financial, family and friends, spiritual well-being, peace of mind, and overall life satisfaction) across four time periods (present, past, future, life without a diagnosis of HIV). The domains were derived from focus groups with persons with HIV disease. Women with a diagnosis of HIV Infection, age 18 or older, residing in rural areas in the southeastern United States, completed questionnaires that measured physical functioning, HIV related symptom frequency and distress, depressive symptoms, social support, and quality of life. Procedures used to assess reliability included item-item, item-total, and subscale-subscale correlations, and Chronbach's coefficient α. Criterion-related (concurrent) validity was assessed by correlating the CIQOLL with HIV symptoms, functional status and social support. Construct validity was estimated using factor analysis and predictive modeling. Results provide preliminary evidence that the CIQOLL is a reliable and valid scale that may provide meaningful information about persons living with a chronic illness, such as HIV disease, especially low literacy and unacculturated populations. Additional research is needed to weight the domains, test the sensitivity of the scale to changes over time, and explore the usefulness of discrepancy scores. © Springer 2006.