Date of Conferral
Neuropathy is a nerve disorder found in HIV disease and diabetes mellitus that indicates damage in the peripheral nervous system. Burning, tingling, stabbing, shooting, and painful sensations in the hands and feet are common symptoms of this chronic disorder, and no treatments are available that repair the nerves. The approved pain treatments are few and only available for the diabetic neuropathy population. A mixed-methods study of archival data was performed to compare patients with painful neuropathy (PN) associated with 2 diseases: HIV (HIV-PN) and diabetes mellitus (DPN). This study examined the similarities and differences of the pain narratives and common pain questionnaires from 12 HIV-PN and 11 DPN subjects. An independent t test of the Visual Analog Scale, Numeric Rating Scale, Brief Pain Intensity subscale, and the Short Form McGill Pain questionnaire failed to reject the null hypothesis that HIV-PN and DPN have equal pain levels. The qualitative analysis revealed 8 shared themes in both groups, with footwear challenges reported as the primary theme. This finding supports the many shared themes between these groups, yet education addressing these themes is minimal. One contrasting theme, privacy, was detected in the HIV-PN group, correlating statistically with the Beck Depression Inventory findings of guilt feelings. The theme of exercise was unique for the DPN group. Both groups had paralinguistic and nonverbal elements discovered in the recordings demonstrating the need for future research to explore these components. Results of education and research themes of privacy in the HIV-PN group and pain communication strategies for both groups will increase understanding of etiology, intervention, and patterns of pain for those diagnosed with neuropathy.