Many people with HIV report both distress and pain. The relationship between distress and pain is bidirectional, but the mechanisms by which distress exacerbates pain are unclear. The inflammatory response to challenge (inflammatory reactivity, IR) may be a partial mediator, given that neuroimmune interactions provide a substrate for IR to also influence neurological reactivity and, thus, pain-related neural signalling. This prospective, observational, case–control study will characterise the relationships between distress, IR, pain-related signalling as captured by induced secondary hyperalgesia (SH), and pain, in people with HIV who report persistent pain (PP) (cases) or no pain (controls).
One hundred people with suppressed HIV, reporting either PP or no pain, will be assessed two or four times over 6 months. The primary outcomes are distress (Hopkins 25-item symptom checklist), IR (multiplex assay after LPS challenge), and PP (Brief Pain Inventory), assessed at the baseline timepoint, although each will also be assessed at follow-up time points. Induced SH will be assessed in a subsample of 60 participants (baseline timepoint only). To test the hypothesis that IR partly mediates the relationship between distress and pain, mediation analysis will use the baseline data from the PP group to estimate direct and indirect contributions of distress and IR to pain. To test the hypothesis that IR is positively associated with SH, data from the subsample will be analysed with generalised mixed effects models to estimate the association between IR and group membership, with SH as the dependent variable.
Information obtained from this study will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at scientific meetings. The study has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of the University of Cape Town (approval number: 764/2019) and the City of Cape Town (ref: 24699).
In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), food insecurity and undernutrition disproportionately affect women of reproductive age, infants and young children. The disease burden from undernutrition in these vulnerable sections of societies remains a major concern in LMICs. Biomass fuel use for cooking is also common in LMICs. Empirical evidence from high-income countries indicates that early life nutritional and environmental exposures and their effect on infant lung function are important; however, data from sub-Saharan Africa are scarce.
To estimate the association between infant lung function and household food insecurity, energy poverty and maternal dietary diversity.
Pregnant women will be recruited in an existing Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in South-West Uganda. Household food insecurity, sources and uses of energy, economic measures and maternal dietary diversity will be collected during pregnancy and after birth. Primary health outcomes will be infant lung function determined by tidal breath flow and volume analysis at 6–10 weeks of age. Infant weight and length will also be collected.
A household Food Consumption Score and Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women (MDD-W) indicator will be constructed. The involved cost of dietary diversity will be estimated based on MDD-W. The association between household level and mothers’ food access indicators and infant lung function will be evaluated using regression models. The Multidimensional Energy Poverty Index (MEPI) will be estimated and used as an indicator of households’ environmental exposures. The association between household MEPI and infant lung function will be assessed using econometric models.
Ethical approvals have been obtained from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (18-059), the Uganda Virus Research Institute Ethics Committee (097/2018) and Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (SS 4846). Study results will be shared with participants, policy-makers, other stakeholders and published in peer-reviewed journals.