Pain Self-Management in HIV-Infected Individuals with Chronic Pain: A Qualitative Study

Jessica S. Merlin, Melonie Walcott, Robert Kerns, Matthew J. Bair, Kathryn L. Burgio, Janet M. Turan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


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. Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)706-714
Number of pages9
JournalPain Medicine (United States)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Chronic Pain
  • HIV
  • Pain Psychology
  • Self-Management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Pain Self-Management in HIV-Infected Individuals with Chronic Pain: A Qualitative Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this