'Two pains together': Patient perspectives on psychological aspects of chronic pain while living with HIV

Academic Article


  • Objective: Chronic pain is common in HIV-infected individuals. Understanding HIV-infected patients' chronic pain experience not just from a biological, but also from a psychological perspective, is a critical first step toward improving care for this population. Our objective was to explore HIV-infected patients' perspectives on psychological aspects of chronic pain using in-depth qualitative interviews.Methods: Investigators engaged in an iterative process of independent and group coding until theme saturation was reached.Results: Of the 25 patients with chronic pain interviewed, 20 were male, 15 were younger than age 50, and 15 were African-American. Key themes that emerged included the close relationship between mood and pain; mood and pain in the context of living with HIV; use of alcohol/drugs to self-medicate for pain; and the challenge of receiving prescription pain medications while dealing with substance use disorders.Conclusions: The results suggest that psychological approaches to chronic pain treatment may be well received by HIV-infected patients.
  • Published In

  • PLoS ONE  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Merlin JS; Walcott M; Ritchie C; Herbey I; Kertesz SG; Chamot E; Saag M; Turan JM
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 11