Publications & Reports

Diagnosing and treating HIV-associated sensory neuropathy: a global perspective.

Cherry CL, Wadley AL, Kamerman PR
Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.


HIV-associated sensory neuropathy (HIV-SN) is a common complication of HIV and remains highly prevalent even with modern HIV management strategies, causing debilitating pain in millions globally. We review HIV-SN diagnosis and management. We suggest most HIV-SN cases are easily recognized using clinical screening tools, with physician assessment and/or specialized testing prioritized for atypical cases. Management aims to prevent further nerve damage and optimize symptom control. Symptom relief is difficult and rarely complete, with a lack of proven pharmacological strategies. Work is needed to clarify optimal use of available medications. This includes understanding the marked placebo effect in HIV-SN analgesic trials and exploring ‘responder phenotypes’. Limited data support nondrug strategies including hypnosis, meditation, psychology, physical activity and a positive therapeutic relationship.


  • Journal: Pain Management
  • Published: 18/03/2016
  • Volume: 6
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 191-199


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