As the number of people living with HIV increases and the disease becomes a long-term condition physical therapists can make a significant difference.
That’s the message from Stephanie Nixon, associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto, who will lead a focused symposium on the subject at the WCPT Congress in Cape Town next year.
“There’s a growing need for physiotherapy among people living with HIV because HIV is transitioning to become a chronic illness,” says Nixon. This will be explored in a session on Physiotherapy and HIV and the role that physiotherapists can play to lead on service delivery and rehabilitation in health systems across the world.
"You look so good! You can’t be as bad as you say. You look perfectly healthy." "You think you have fatigue? Try working full time plus having four children! Then you’ll know what chronic fatigue is." "I think you’re spending too much time thinking about how you feel. You need to just get out more." "If you really wanted to get well, you’d at least try that juice drink I gave you last week. It won’t hurt to try it."
And the remarks go on … and on. And our heart aches.
You may be surprised to hear that nearly one in two Americans has a chronic illness or physical condition that affects their daily life.* The range of diseases include everything from back pain to fibromyalgia, arthritis to cancer and migraines to diabetes. Oftentimes, one of the largest emotional stumbling blocks for people who suffer from illness is the invisibility of the pain.