Sensory neuropathy (SN) is a common and difficult to manage cause of chronic pain in HIV. Recent recommendations for earlier HIV treatment and avoidance of neurotoxic antiretroviral drugs (such as stavudine) have led to optimism that HIV-SN rates may decline. We present several reasons as to why HIV-SN is likely to remain prevalent, despite improvements in HIV management, together with clinical evidence confirming high HIV-SN rates in cohorts never exposed to neurotoxic medications. A combination of epidemiologic studies, laboratory work and clinical trials are needed to understand the problem of HIV-SN in the post-stavudine era. Improved HIV-SN prevention and management strategies are needed if the morbidity associated with HIV infection is to improve along with life expectancy.