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Physiotherapy intervention as a complementary treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS

Authors Pullen S, Chigbo N, Nwigwe EC, Chukwuka CJ, Amah CC, Idu SC

Received 8 February 2014

Accepted for publication 31 March 2014

Published 2 June 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 99—107

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/HIV.S62121

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Sara D Pullen,1 Nnenna Nina Chigbo,2 Emmanuel Chukwudi Nwigwe,2 Chinwe J Chukwuka,3 Christopher Chim Amah,4 Stanley C Idu2

1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA; 2Department of Physiotherapy, 3Department of Medicine, 4Paediatric Surgery Division, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria

Background: The advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy has dramatically extended the life expectancy of people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Despite this increased longevity, HIV disease and its pharmacological treatment can cause long-term and acute health complications, many of which can be treated successfully by physiotherapy. The purpose of this paper is to report the effect of a 12-week rehabilitation program on several health-related markers in a 43-year-old woman living with HIV.
Methods: This case study examined the effect of a 12-week exercise and manual therapy intervention on morphology, pain, cardiopulmonary fitness, strength, neurological balance, immune markers (CD4 cell count), and quality of life in a 43-year-old woman living with HIV.
Results: The results showed complete elimination of pain and shortness of breath on exertion. There was also a reduction in resting heart rate, waist circumference, exercise duration, muscle strength, and endurance. The patient showed an increase in peak expiratory flow rate, maximal heart rate attained, upper arm, forearm, and thigh circumference, and CD4+ cell count. The patient also showed improvements in the quality of life domains of general health, pain, energy/fatigue, social and physical functioning, and emotional well-being.
Conclusion: Physiotherapy interventions consisting of exercise and manual therapy appear beneficial in several areas as an adjunct therapy in HIV management.

Keywords: exercise, manual therapy, quality of life

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