A number of studies have demonstrated that pain is dramatically undertreated among patients with AIDS and that opioids in particular are rarely prescribed. To date, however, there has been no systematic attempt to examine patient-related barriers to the management of pain in AIDS. This study examines potential patient-related barriers to pain management in patients with AIDS using the Barriers Questionnaire (Ward et al., Pain, 52 (1993) 319–324), and assesses gender, racial, and other demographic differences in the endorsement of these barriers. We surveyed 199 ambulatory patients with AIDS, recruited from numerous sites in New York City, as part of an ongoing study of pain and quality of life in ambulatory AIDS patients. In addition to obtaining demographic and medical data, we administered a number of self-report questionnaires including the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), the Brief Symptom Index (BSI), the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS). Barriers to pain management were assessed using a modified version of the Barriers Questionnaire (BQ), including the original 27 questions from this self-report instrument along with an additional 12 items developed for an AIDS population. Results indicated that the most frequently endorsed BQ items were those concerning the addiction potential of pain medications and physical discomfort associated with opioid administration (e.g. injections) or side effects (e.g. nausea, constipation). There were no associations between age, gender, or HIV transmission risk factor and total scores on the BQ; however, Caucasian patients endorsed significantly fewer BQ items than did non-Caucasian patients and years of education was negatively correlated with BQ scores. Scores on the BQ were also significantly correlated with number of physical symptoms (MSAS) and scores on several self-report measures of psychological distress (the BSI Global Distress Index, BDI total scores). Patient-related barriers (i.e. BQ total scores) were significantly associated with undertreatment of pain (as measured by the Pain Management Index), and added significantly to the prediction of undertreatment in a logistic regression analysis, even after controlling for the impact of gender, education and IDU transmission risk factor. These data suggest that patient-related barriers to pain management may add to the already considerable likelihood of undertreatment of AIDS-related pain.