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Data and analysis scripts: psychological factors associated with painful vs. non-painful HIV-associated sensory neuropathy

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posted on 15.01.2017, 13:44 by Peter Kamerman, Antonia Wadley, Prinisha Pillay

Background & objectives

HIV-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) is a common, frequently painful complication of HIV. We investigated whether psychological factors associated with painful versus non-painful HIV-SN, and if pain and psychological factors affected quality of life (QoL). And, in the painful HIV-SN group only (secondary analysis), we investigated whether psychological factors associated with pain intensity.


We recruited 125 patients with painful HIV-SN and 72 patients with non-painful HIV-SN. We assessed anxiety and depression using the Hopkins Symptoms Checklist-25. Pain catastrophizing and QoL was assessed using the Pain Catastrophizing Scale and EQ-5D, respectively.


No included psychological factors were associated with having painful HIV-SN. Greater depressive symptoms and presence, but not intensity, of pain was independently associated with lower QoL. In addition, a greater depressive symptom score was associated with increased pain intensity.


Our findings demonstrate a high pain burden in this cohort, of which HIV-SN was only one part, and emphasises the importance of psychological factors, particularly depression, in the assessment of HIV-SN. Our data also confirm that results from studies in developed countries cannot be generalised to African cohorts.


Analysis outputs

The outputs from all analysis scripts are located in the outputs directory. The outputs are formatted as GitHub markdown.

Build the document

You can also build html files of the outputs of the analysis scripts on your local machine by following the steps below.

Windows users must first download and install:

If you use Git/GitHub:

  1. Fork the repository to your GitHub account.

  2. Clone the repository to your computer.

  3. Open a terminal and change the path to the directory of the respository.

  4. Type 'make'.

  1. Clone the repository or download it as a zip file (and unzip the file).

  2. Open a terminal and change the path to the directory you cloned or unzipped the repository into.

  3. Type 'make'.


Medical Faculty Research Endowment Fund of the University of the Witwatersrand, Medical Research Council of South Africa, National Research Foundation Rated Researchers Programme, Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program