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Lancet Infect Dis. 2012 Jul;12(7):571-5. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(12)70085-3. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Integration of palliative care throughout HIV disease.

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London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


People with HIV have a high burden of pain and physical, psychological, and social difficulties that can be managed effectively with palliative care. However, most individuals do not have access to this type of care. Palliative care is holistic patient-centred management of life-limiting progressive disorders and is recognised by WHO as an essential element of HIV care, from diagnosis to end of life. Historically, palliative care and HIV care were linked closely, but misconceptions divide the two disciplines today. Palliative care can augment patients' outcomes and boost adherence to antiretroviral treatments and life expectancy. In much of the world, services providing palliative care are isolated, and most individuals in need have no access to this care. The commitment to provide palliative care for all people with HIV can be fulfilled if clinical workers are trained in this therapeutic approach and if care is delivered at community level, with support for family caregivers.

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