HealthDay News — Individuals with HIV and chronic pain implement self-management strategies including physical activity, cognitive and spiritual strategies, and substance use to manage pain, according to a study published in Pain Medicine.

Noting that chronic pain is common in individuals with HIV, Jessica S. Merlin, MD, MBA, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues conducted a thematic analysis of qualitative data from 25 interviews with individuals with HIV and chronic pain.

The researchers found that 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 were cited by participants as the primary pain self-management strategies.

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“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),” the authors write. “Interventions that incorporate healthy self-management strategies may be particularly effective in improving both HIV and pain outcomes.”


  1. Merlin JS et al. Pain Medicine. 2015; doi:0.1111/pme.12701.