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

Catherine L. Cherry, Antonia L. Wadley, Peter R. Kamerman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
Number of pages9
JournalPain Management Nursing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • HIV
  • neuropathic pain
  • neuropathy
  • nondrug strategies
  • placebo effect

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