HIV pain management challenges and alternative therapies

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HIV INFECTS 47,000 individuals annually in the United States.1 Although advances in treatment have improved quality of life for these patients, there's no cure for or vaccine to prevent HIV. Over the years, HIV has transformed from an acute disease to a chronic illness; patients are living longer with the disease and its many complications. This places a burden on the patient and healthcare system, necessitating careful monitoring of medications to prevent toxic effects and minimize complications.
Of the myriad complications that result from HIV infection, the most commonly reported is pain.2,3 Many patients with HIV who report pain rate it as severe and say it decreases their quality of life.3 Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are emerging as viable interventions for pain management in this population. This article highlights challenges and nonpharmacologic options in the management of pain in patients with HIV.

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