This special issue includes articles that shed light on the role of the interprofessional team in HIV rehabilitation. Permit us to take you back in time when virtually all individuals infected with HIV were dying. Human immunodeficiency virus and its assault on the immune system was essentially a death sentence until the release of the first antiretroviral therapy (ART) in 1986. Four decades later, HIV is a chronic disease for those successfully treated with ART. Assessment of functional status and incorporation of patient-reported outcomes for people living with HIV (PLHIV) is a starting point to establish standard models of care to mitigate episodic disability.1 Regardless of age, suboptimal adherence to ART may lead to increased viral load, immunosuppression, drug-resistant viral strains, co-morbidities, opportunistic infections and an adverse effect on survival.2 There is a need to educate PLHIV and prepare them for the journey of living well with chronic issues. A recently published framework may help to provide client-centered HIV care, including psychologically-informed physical therapy (PIPT) .3
In this issue, the scoping review by Strehlau, van Aswegen, and Potterton addresses pediatric HIV by describing interventions that may help mitigate neurodevelopmental delays in children living with HIV. Physical therapists encounter PLHIV across the lifespan and the scoping review by Degnais et al. describes the use of technology to track physical activity. The perspective paper by Myezwa et al. discusses the impact of living with both breast cancer and HIV, while Dr. Myezwa’s commentary provides an international discussion of disability and rehabilitation issues faced by PLHIV in Africa. Finally, the case study by Pullen illuminates the interprofessional team’s efforts to manage chronic pain and reduce use of opioid medication over time. These contributions widen the scope of physical therapists’ practice and the importance of attending to optimal care for PLHIV. Our Academy of Oncology Rehabilitation through the HIV SIG is a place where colleagues may find resources, research and support – join us in aging gracefully.
Mary Lou Galantino and David Kietrys
Special Issue Co-Editors
1. O'Brien KK, Bayoumi AM, Strike C, Young NL, Davis AM. Exploring disability from the perspective of adults living with HIV/AIDS: Development of a conceptual framework. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2008;6:76.
2. de Olalla Garcia P, Knobel H, Carmona A, Guelar A, López-Colomés JL, Caylà JA. Impact of adherence and highly active antiretroviral therapy on survival in HIV-infected patients. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1999). 2002;30(1):105-110.
3. deBoer H, Andrews M, Cudd S, et al. Where and how does physical therapy fit? Integrating physical therapy into interprofessional HIV care. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2018:1-10.