HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) damages the immune system, thus affecting the natural defence system of the body. This virus makes the immune system weaker, and at the end, the body cannot fight against infections and diseases. It destroys white blood cells, which are natural fighters against viruses. Damage to white blood cells puts the body at a high risk of developing cancer and other serious diseases. It is a common thought HIV causes AIDS. AIDS is “Acquired immune deficiency syndrome”, it is a condition that happens when HIV is left untreated. AIDS is a series of infections because of weakness and severe damage to the immune system.
At initial stages, HIV doesn’t cause AIDS, but when the virus remains in the system and continues to weaken the immune system, it leads to AIDS. The weak immune system causes many infections, and the person is at risk of developing cancer.
The person having HIV positive may suffer from pain because of infections etc. HIV patients may experience pain because of HIV treatments, or they develop some secondary infections. As the immune system is not working well, the patient may not recover from this pain. HIV related pain can be for a short term or a long time. Some people suffer from pain for a few days, others for weeks, and some may have to suffer from HIV related pain throughout their lives. This pain can be mild to severe; they should manage it. Patients may suffer from different pain. It requires treatment according to the type and nature of suffering.
Relation of HIV and chronic pains
There is a relationship between chronic illnesses and HIV because people who have HIV may get secondary infections, or they may suffer from pains as the side effects of HIV medications. The factors involved in causing pain in HIV patients to include:
- Nerve damage or inflammation because of infections
- Low immunity because of HIV
- HIV medication side effects
- Person’s pain sensitivity because of some medicines is also a cause of HIV related pain
- Types of HIV, Related Pain
- Joint bone and muscle pain
Patients who have HIV may suffer from joint pain, pain in bones or muscles. It is because HIV can cause arthritis or osteoporosis. It also links arthritis to a weak immune system, so it can attack a person who has HIV. Muscle pain because of HIV can cause sleeplessness, thus leaving the patient to suffer from insomnia. Medications can treat these problems if they are not at the last stage.
HIV weakens the immune system with time if left untreated. Therefore, it weakens the body and makes it vulnerable to different infections. Many infections can occur in the gastrointestinal tract, thus causing severe abdominal pain. Abdominal pain can also be a side effect of HIV treatment.
Headache with intense pressure, tightening or throbbing sensation results from HIV and HIV treatment. HIV – related illnesses like low CD4 counts, infections etc. can cause mild to severe headaches.
The HIV related pains are under-reported; Therefore, they are untreated most of the time. Mostly the health supervisors only give pain killers etc. to manage this pain, but it should be adequately treated. Sometimes doctors recommend reducing the dosage of HIV medications or stopping the treatments. But this approach doesn’t work; Therefore, proper management of HIV is required related to pain.
A virus common among people living with HIV is “Herpes”. This virus stays in the body for life. But sometimes it hides, and sometimes it comes back. In HIV patients, HIV 1 and HIV 2 may cause blisters and pain around the mouth or genital area. Such problems must be treated. Otherwise, they may cause cancer, etc.
Other health issues and pain
HIV patients may face painful rashes. HIV patients may suffer from chest pain, lung problems, and TB, and bacterial pneumonia or PCP pneumonia may cause HIV infections. Mouth pain, fungal infections also cause pain in the body.
How to find the treatment for HIV related pain
It is necessary to treat and manage HIV related pain because they may lead a person to death. Only a few people can bear severe pain associated with HIV and HIV medication side effects. To find the treatment related to HIV and the side effects of HIV treatments, one must thoroughly analyze the history and severity of the problem. Healthcare providers consider the following points while recommending the treatment of HIV related pain:
Which medicines and medical treatment are you taking for HIV, and which drugs must involve in the procedure, which vitamins the patient is taking, and suggest which supplements should be used.
- What is the history of the patient’s HIV and its treatment?
- From which medical conditions a patient is suffering
- How much power do HIV patients have?
- How much stable the patient is
- Which medicines can cause allergic reactions?
Some people go through mild pain, and some may suffer from unbearable pain and irritation. Some people may suffer from allergic reactions because of some vitamins or supplements. HIV patients are way too much sense because they have a weak immune system. Therefore, some vitamins and supplements are not suitable for all patients. HIV patients cannot stop medications because the medication is necessary to prevent HIV, so doctors must check which medicine or supplement is causing allergic reactions. Doctors first check which medicine is allergic and which drug is not effective. It can be corrected only by stopping medications for some time and then start again.
Things suitable to manage HIV related pain
The following treatments are effective in managing HIV related pain, as suggested by the experts.
Non-Opioid Pain Relievers
We recommend non-opioid pain relievers and painkillers for the management of HIV related pain. These medicines include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen (Advil).
If the patient has blisters or other skin allergies, topical anaesthetics can treat them. Topical anaesthetics include patches and creams. Some topical anaesthetics may cause allergic reactions in HIV patients. So, one should use the medicine on a small area first.
Opioids are very useful in managing HIV related pain, but only a small course can treat pain. We do not recommend them for severe pain, and they can treat only mild pains using opioids. Now many professionals are staying away from opioids and say that patients should not use opioids for pain.
Some other medicines that may be recommended for managing pain include:
- Oxycodone (Oxaydo, Roxicodone)
- Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
- Tramadol (Ultram)
HIV related pain must be treated timely. Otherwise, it may cause cancer or other such problems. HIV patients are already suffering from mental and physical torture, and if they do not treat their pain, it will be more torture for them. Pain management also depends upon the willpower of a patient. If the patient is strong in his nerves, he can easily manage pain. If the nerves of HIV patient are not healthy, he may die before time. HIV is an uncurable mystery disease that is being tried to be cured by many experts. But unable to find out the solutions so far yet they can make it possible to provide relief rather than bearing a searing pain.