Chronic pain com­mon in HIV pa­tients

The New Age (Gauteng) - - NEWS - TNA RE­PORTER

THE HIV Medicine As­so­ci­a­tion of the In­fec­tious Dis­eases So­ci­ety of Amer­ica, re­leased new guide­lines which call for all peo­ple liv­ing with HIV to be screened for chronic pain, us­ing mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary non­drug treat­ment first.

Chronic pain af­fects an es­ti­mated 39-85% of peo­ple liv­ing with HIV with nearly half of the chronic pain be­ing nerve pain. Clin­i­cians said this was likely due to in­flam­ma­tion or in­jury to the pe­riph­eral ner­vous sys­tem caused by the in­fec­tion.

The guide­line sug­gests a va­ri­ety of non­phar­ma­co­log­i­cal ther­a­pies first, such as cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy, yoga, phys­i­cal ther­apy and acupunc­ture among oth­ers.

The guide­lines call for HIV clin­i­cians to work with an in­ter­dis­ci­plinary team to of­fer holis­tic treat­ment to pa­tients who have tested pos­i­tive.

Lead au­thor of the guide­lines, chief of medicine at Cor­nell Scott-Hill Health Cen­ter and as­so­ciate clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of medicine at Yale Univer­sity Dou­glas Bruce, said: “Be­cause HIV clin­i­cians are typ­i­cally not ex­perts in pain man­age­ment, they should work closely with oth­ers such as pain spe­cial­ists, psy­chi­a­trists and phys­i­cal ther­a­pists to help al­le­vi­ate their pa­tients’ pain.”

The guide­lines rec­om­mend that all pa­tients who test pos­i­tive un­dergo a com­pre­hen­sive eval­u­a­tion which in­cludes a phys­i­cal exam, psy­choso­cial eval­u­a­tion and di­ag­nos­tic test­ing.

“Th­ese guide­lines pro­vide the tools and re­sources HIV spe­cial­ists need to treat th­ese of­ten com­plex pa­tients, many of whom strug­gle with de­pres­sion, sub­stance use dis­or­ders and have other health con­di­tions,” Bruce said.

The guide­lines have been pub­lished in the Clin­i­cal In­fec­tious Dis­eases Jour­nal. – 701478

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