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Papers of the Week

Papers: 16 Jan 2021 - 22 Jan 2021


Human Studies

2021 Jan 14


“I have failed to separate my HIV from this pain”: the challenge of managing chronic pain among people with HIV.


Baker V, Nkhoma K, Trevelion R, Roach A, Winston A, Sabin C, Bristowe K, Harding R
AIDS Care. 2021 Jan 14:1-9.
PMID: 33443450.


Pain is a highly prevalent and burdensome symptom among people with HIV (PWH). This study aims to identify how the experience of living with HIV and chronic pain influences pain beliefs, health-seeking and pain management. Thirty-nine purposively sampled PWH with chronic pain (sample characteristics = 61% women, 79% Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, 18% men who have sex with men, 45-54 median age category) participated in focus groups in London. Focus groups were co-facilitated with community members. Transcripts wereanalysed using a thematic approach. Findings revealed that HIV stigma, fractured care pathways, and general practitioners' lack of HIV training are barriers to supported pain management. Unaddressed pain results in poorer mental health and reduced quality of life, which has important clinical implications for HIV treatment adherence. Creating HIV-specific pain resources, activating social networks, and pain self-management techniques are potential solutions. Person-centred assessment and HIV training is needed to help clinicians identify PWH with chronic pain. Clear guidelines need to be developed to identify which health service providers are responsible for chronic pain management in PWH. This study generated a refined version of the Fear Avoidance Model that introduces a dimension of HIV-specific behaviours that impact PWHs seeking chronic pain management.