Assessment and Management of HIV Distal Sensory Peripheral Neuropathy: Understanding the Symptoms

Joyce K. Anastasi, Anna M. Pakhomova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Distal sensory peripheral neuropathy (HIV-DSP) affects upwards of 50% of people living with HIV. Causing often debilitating symptoms of tingling, numbness and burning, HIV-DSP can result in disability, unemployment and low quality of life. Comorbidities further complicate nursing care, heightening risk of polypharmacy and symptom exacerbation. Therefore, a neurological sensory assessment, combined with the patient's self-report of symptoms, can help nurse practitioners visualize, quantify and understand symptoms. Common pharmacological interventions include antiepileptics, antidepressants, analgesics and medical marijuana. The complexity of care for individuals with HIV-DSP merits a comprehensive approach. Implications for practice include interdisciplinary management with neurologists, podiatrists, mental health providers, and nurse-led counseling inclusive of patient safety teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-280
Number of pages5
JournalJournal for Nurse Practitioners
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • chronic pain management
  • comorbidity
  • complementary therapy
  • distal sensory peripheral neuropathy (HIV-DSP)
  • neuropathy assessment
  • people living with HIV/AIDs (PLWH)
  • polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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