Author: Damian Otieno Opemo
School of Nursing, Kibabii University, Bungoma, Kenya.

Peripheral Neuropathy (PN) commonly arises as HIV related nerve complication. The study made attempts to assess the underlying factors leading to peripheral neuropathy, the disabling effects of peripheral neuropathy on a patient’s life quality and measures which can be implemented to prevent or lessen the burdening effects of these neuropathies. A descriptive design was adopted where cross-sectional data targeting a sample of 100 consenting adult HIV/AIDS clients were collected utilizing structured questionnaires as key instruments of data collection. In this study variables such as age, height, the past and current CD4 lymphocytes, the viral load, the average duration of antiretroviral treatment (ART), use and the presence of certain co-infection, diabetes or alcohol abuse were analyzed to determine their effects of occurrence of peripheral neuropathy. Fifty eight percent (58%) of the clients were classified to be having neuropathic as compared 42% who did not have neuropathic pain. Duration of diagnosis with HIV and previous CD4 count did not significantly determine the occurrence of neuropathic pain. Viral load at time of diagnosis with HIV; nutritional uptake and HAART regimen significantly contribute to occurrence of PN among HIV/AIDS clients. There was no significant association between cases of peripheral neuropathy and demographic factors such as age, gender, height of the respondents and level of education. Clients with peripheral neuropathy were not receiving adequate health talks on peripheral neuropathy. Effect of PN on physical activity was observed. There is need for providing both medical and palliative treatment to HIV/AIDS patients suffering from peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral Neuropathy, HIV/AIDS, Kenya