AIDS is a painful disease.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: HIV patients (Health aspects)
AIDS (Disease) (Care and treatment)
AIDS (Disease) (Complications and side effects)
Highly active antiretroviral therapy (Health aspects)
Peripheral nerve diseases (Risk factors)
Peripheral nerve diseases (Prevention)
Pub Date: 11/01/2008
Publication: Name: South African Medical Journal Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 South African Medical Association ISSN: 0256-9574
Issue: Date: Nov, 2008 Source Volume: 98 Source Issue: 11
Geographic: Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa
Accession Number: 204550825
Full Text: The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has a predilection for nerve tissue, so the peripheral nerves, spinal cord and brain are frequently affected in patients with HIV/AIDS. Hitchcock, Meyer and Gwyther (4) investigated the prevalence, severity and morbidity of neuropathic pain in AIDS patients before the initiation of antiretroviral therapy.

The most frequent cause of neuropathic pain in patients with HIV infection is a distal sensory neuropathy which may be the result of the HIV infection itself or of neurotoxicity from drugs used in treating patients with AIDS. Of their patients 20.9% had pain of predominantly neuropathic origin and the severity of the pain frequently interfered with all domains of living. The correlation between lower CD4+ counts and higher prevalence of polyneuropathy implies that timely use of antiretroviral therapy could lower the incidence of neuropathic pain.

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