Post-print: Pain in ambulatory HIV-positive South Africans. European Journal of Pain. DOI: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2011.00031.x

Post-print copy of: Mphahlele N, Mitchell D, Kamerman PR. Pain in ambulatory HIV-positive South Africans. European Journal of Pain 16: 447-458, 2011. DOI: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2011.00031.x, PMID: 22337525

Abstract: We investigated the prevalence and intensity of pain, factors associated with having pain, and analgesic medications employed in a population consisting predominantly of Black African and female human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals attending outpatient clinics in a rural (n = 125; 79% female; 100% Black African) and a metropolitan (n = 396; 75% female; 94% Black African) area of South Africa. Pain intensity, interference and treatment were assessed using the Wisconsin Brief Pain Questionnaire. Seventy-two percent of rural participants and 56% of metropolitan participants had pain at the time of the interview, and this pain was moderate to severe in intensity in 60% of rural participants and 59% of metropolitan participants. Forty-six percent of rural participants and 61% of metropolitan participants had multiple pain sites. The most common pain sites in rural participants were the abdomen (30%), chest (26%), head (19%) and genitals (15%), while in the metropolitan cohort the head (39%), feet (33%), chest (30%) and abdomen (20%) were the most common sites. In the rural cohort, antiretroviral therapy was independently associated with reduced risk of pain, while in the metropolitan cohort increasing age was weakly, but independently associated with having pain. Pharmacological management of pain was poor, with 29% of rural participants and 55% of metropolitan participants with pain not receiving any treatment. Of those receiving treatment, no participants were receiving strong opioids, and only 3% of metropolitan participants were receiving a weak opioid. Thus, HIV-related pain is common and is poorly treated in both the rural and metropolitan setting in South Africa.

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