Prevalence of pain and association with psychiatric symptom severity in perinatally HIV-infected children as compared to controls living in HIV-affected households

AIDS Care. 2010 May;22(5):640-8. doi: 10.1080/09540120903280919.


This cross-sectional study evaluated the prevalence of pain and psychiatric symptoms in perinatally HIV-infected children at entry into P1055, a multicenter investigation of the prevalence and severity of psychiatric symptoms in HIV-infected children. Subjects 6-17 years of age and their primary caregivers were recruited from 29 International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials sites in the USA and Puerto Rico. A total of 576 children (320 HIV and 256 HIV- children) were enrolled from June 2005 to September 2006. Subject self-reports of pain were measured by the Wong-Baker visual analog scale and Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire. Symptomatology for anxiety, depression, and dysthymia was assessed through Symptom Inventory instruments. Caregiver's assessment of their child's pain and psychiatric symptomatology was similarly measured. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate predictors of pain. We found that a higher proportion of HIV-infected than uninfected subjects reported pain in the last two months (41% vs 32%, p=0.04), last two weeks (28% vs 19%, p=0.02), and lasting more than one week (20% vs 11%, p=0.03). Among HIV-infected youth, females (OR=1.53, p=0.09), White race (OR=2.15, p=0.04), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Class C (OR=1.83, p=0.04) were significantly more likely to report pain. For all subjects, only 52% of caregivers recognized their child's pain and just 22% were aware that pain affected their child's daily activities. The odds of reported pain in HIV increased with higher symptom severity for generalized anxiety (OR=1.14, p=0.03), major depression (OR=1.15, p=0.03), and dysthymia (OR=1.18, p=0.01). This study underscores the importance of queries concerning pain and emotional stressors in the care of HIV and uninfected children exposed to HIV individuals. The discordance between patient and caregiver reports of pain and its impact on activities of daily living highlights that pain in children is under-recognized and therefore potentially under-treated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Pain Measurement / psychology*
  • Puerto Rico
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • United States