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Pain: a common symptom in human immunodeficiency virus-infected Thai children

Publication year
Lolekha, R.; Chanthavanich, P.; Limkittikul, K.; Luangxay, K.; Chotpitayasunodh, T.; Newman, C. J.

AIM: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of pain in Thai human immunodeficiency virus-infected children. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed at the HIV/AIDS outpatient clinic at the Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, Bangkok, Thailand from November 2002 to January 2003. Sixty-one human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients aged 4 to 15 y, an equal number of age-matched children with no chronic disease and their caregivers participated. We interviewed children and their caregivers using a structured questionnaire on pain. The main outcome measure was the percentage of human immunodeficiency virus-infected children reporting pain. RESULTS: Forty-four percent of the human immunodeficiency virus-infected children reported pain compared to 13% of the children with no chronic disease (odds ratio, OR = 5.3; 95% CI: 2.0-14.3). Seven percent of the infected children experienced chronic pain. Children in human immunodeficiency virus clinical categories B and C reported more pain than children in categories N and A (OR = 4.0, 95% CI: 1.1-14.7). Pain in infected children tended to occur in the abdomen, lower limbs or head. Only 44 percent of the infected children experiencing pain received analgesic medication. CONCLUSION: Despite being a common experience, pain is insufficiently taken into account and treated in Thai children with HIV/AIDS. Therefore, adequate pain identification, assessment and management should be systemically considered in their routine care.

Research abstracts