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n African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine - A preliminary analysis of the association between perceived stigma and HIV-related pain in South Africans living with HIV - original research

Volume 11 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2071-2928
  • E-ISSN: 2071-2936
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Abstract

Background: Stigma related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains common and has been associated with severity of HIV-related symptoms. Associations between HIV stigma and HIV-related pain, one of the most common symptoms in HIV, have however not been investigated. Data from low back pain populations suggest that stigma is associated with worse pain intensity and so we hypothesised that the same would be the case in HIV.

Aim: The goal of this study was to assess the association between HIV stigma and pain intensity in people living with HIV (PLWH) with chronic pain whilst controlling for depression, a well-established correlate of pain.

Setting: The study took place at an HIV clinic in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Methods: Mediation analysis was used to assess the effect of depression on the relationship between stigma and pain intensity in a cross-sectional cohort of 50 PLWH and chronic pain (pain most days of the week for > 3 months). All participants were assessed using the HIV/AIDS Stigma Instrument – PLWA, an 11-point numerical pain rating scale and the Beck Depression Inventory II.

Results: In all, 88% (44/50) of participants reported experiencing some form of HIV stigma (HIV stigma scale score ≥ 1). Worst pain intensity and depressive symptoms individually correlated with total stigma score (Spearman’s r = 0.33, p = 0.02 for both). The mediation analysis highlighted that mediation of the relationship by depression was equivocal (b = -0.002, bootstrapped confidence interval -0.02 to 0.00).

Conclusion: Whilst these preliminary data are marginal, they do suggest that associations between HIV stigma and HIV-related pain warrant further investigation. Future study should also include potential mechanisms, which may include mediation through depression.

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/content/journal/10520/EJC-146d817ce5
2019-03-13
2019-07-23

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