DSPN remains a pervasive problem for people with HIV in the HAART era. The risk of developing peripheral neuropathy can be minimized by detecting HIV disease early to allow for appropriate monitoring of viral load and immune status, as well as timely initiation of antiretroviral treatment. Working with a knowledgeable care provider, HIV patients today can construct effective modern combination regimens that avoid neurotoxic drugs.
Further research is needed to develop additional options for neuropathy prevention and treatment. However, when DSPN does occur, it can be managed in an individualized manner using a wide range of agents for pain control. Researchers are also working on future therapies that may enable nerve regeneration and reversal of existing damage.
Anne Monroe, M.D., M.S.P.H., is a board-certified internist providing clinical care to HIV positive individuals. Her research interests include the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV-related illnesses and conditions.
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