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The site, nature and character of pain can be very variable but whether it is acute or chronic it can interfere greatly with quality of life and contribute to emotional problems.


These are multiple and varied but if related to an acute problem such as an infection should resolve once this is treated. Chronic pain in HIV is often caused by gut, neurological or skeletal problems. Sometimes no specific cause is found or there are multiple factors but whatever the cause, pain can result in a great deal of emotional distress. Mood disturbance can increase the perception of pain.

What to do

As pain can be so distressing and disabling it is important to find out the underlying cause wherever possible, and provide treatment. Conventional medicine is good at controlling acute pain and there are many medications of various strengths that can be prescribed. Treatment of chronic pain may be more difficult and it may be important to involve the specialist services and expertise of palliative care nurses and doctors. There really is no reason why pain cannot be controlled and this should be discussed with doctors and carers together with the possible side-effects of pain-killing drugs and other available treatment options such as physiotherapy and nerve blocks. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage and osteopathy may also be helpful.

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.