Original Research - Special Collection: Pain Management and Palliative Care

South African men and women living with HIV have similar distributions of pain sites

Antonia L. Wadley, Romy Parker, Vanessa A. Mukhuba, Andani Ratshinanga, Zipho Zwane, Peter R. Kamerman
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 14, No 1 | a3114 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v14i1.3114 | © 2022 Antonia Louise Wadley, Romy Parker, Vanessa Anza Mukhuba, Andani Ratshinanga, Zipho Zwane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 July 2021 | Published: 11 January 2022

About the author(s)

Antonia L. Wadley, Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Romy Parker, Pain Management Unit, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Vanessa A. Mukhuba, Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Andani Ratshinanga, Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Zipho Zwane, Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Peter R. Kamerman, Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: No studies have investigated sex differences in the location and number of pain sites in people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH), despite evidence that women, in general, bear a greater burden of pain than men.

Aim: To determine sex differences in the location and number of pain sites, and whether there were demographic or disease-related differences in the number of pain sites.

Setting: South African tertiary hospital HIV clinics and a community healthcare centre

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of records from South African PLWH who had pain.

Results: Of the 596 participant records, 19% were male (115/596) and the median number of pain sites for both sexes was 2 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1 to 3). Pain was most frequently experienced in the head (men: 12%, women: 38%), feet and ankles (men: 42%, women: 28%), abdomen (men = 19%, women = 28%) and chest (men = 20%, women = 20%). After correcting for multiple comparisons, males were less likely to experience headache than females (Fisher’s exact text, odds ratio [OR] = 0.23, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.12 – 0.42, p = 0.000). Pain at other body sites was experienced similarly between the sexes. There was no meaningful variation in the number of pain sites between the sexes (logistic regression, p = 0.157).

Conclusion: A similar location and number of pain sites were experienced by male and female South African PLWH. The locations of pain sites were different from previous reports, however, suggesting that research into pain in PLWH cannot necessarily be generalised across cultures.


Keywords

pain; HIV; sex differences; pain sites; pain location; South Africa

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Crossref Citations

1. Slow and Steady But Not Related to HIV Stigma: Physical Activity in South Africans Living with HIV and Chronic Pain
Antonia Wadley, Peter Kamerman, Tamar Pincus, Michael Evangeli, Tapiwa Chinaka, W. D. Francois Venter, Godspower Akpomiemie, Michelle Moorhouse, Romy Parker
AIDS and Behavior  year: 2022  
doi: 10.1007/s10461-022-03928-7