We evaluated pain frequency and severity in 339 women enrolled in the Women's Interagency HIV Study (WIHS). Among these, 63% were 39 years of age or younger, 17% were white, 54% African American, and 29% Hispanic; 32% did not complete high school; 58% had a CD4 less than 200; 65% had clinical AIDS; 60% were on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART); and 32% had a viral load of 50,000 or more. Data were collected between 1996 and 1998. Within the past 6 months 190 (56%) women experienced pain 6 or more days and 168 (50%) women indicated pain severity scores of 4 or 5 (5-point scale). Pain frequency and pain severity were not associated with age, education, ethnicity, current therapy, or location of the WIHS site. Pain frequency and severity were related to lower CD4 count, higher depression, with a history and longer duration of smoking and use of marijuana. Severity was associated with a history of crack/cocaine or heroin use or with injection drug use as the transmission category. In the multivariate models, pain severity was related to CD4 count and depression and to current tobacco use but not to crack, cocaine, heroin, or marijuana use. Pain frequency was related to depression and to former tobacco, crack, cocaine, heroin, or marijuana use but not to current use. The long-term effects of tobacco use may be to increase pain experience but women may also smoke tobacco or use other substances to give mild pain relief. Pain is frequent and often severe among women with HIV requiring medical management.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases