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Pain self-management in HIV-infected individuals with chronic pain: a qualitative study.

Merlin JS, Walcott M, Kerns R, Bair MJ, Burgio KL, Turan JM. Pain self-management in HIV-infected individuals with chronic pain: a qualitative study. Pain medicine (Malden, Mass.). 2015 Apr 1; 16(4):706-14.

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OBJECTIVE: Chronic pain in individuals with HIV is a common, impairing condition. Behavioral interventions for chronic pain specifically tailored to this population have yet to be developed. We assert that understanding self-management strategies already used by persons living with these conditions is an essential first step, and is the objective of this investigation. DESIGN: We conducted a thematic analysis of qualitative data from 25 in-depth interviews with individuals with HIV and chronic pain. RESULTS: The primary pain self-management strategies articulated by participants were: physical activity; cognitive and spiritual strategies; spending time with family and friends and social support; avoidance of physical/social activity; medication-centric pain management; and substance use. CONCLUSIONS: Some of these strategies may be viewed as beneficial and overlap with known HIV self-management strategies (cognitive strategies), whereas others may have negative health consequences (substance use). Interventions that incorporate healthy self-management strategies may be particularly effective in improving both HIV and pain outcomes.

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