June 15, 2006
Contact: Jerry Carey
Phone: (856) 566-6171
Unique Pain Center Treats Generation That Grew Up With HIV
STRATFORD-At a press conference on April 23, 1984, federal officials announced the isolation of the virus that causes HIV/AIDS and the secretary of Health and Human Services boldly predicted that the discovery would lead to a vaccine within two years. Twenty-two years later, no vaccine exists, but subsequent medical advancements have led to a generation of long-term survivors, many of whom face health challenges unimagined on the day of that landmark press conference.
“Over the past 25 years, HIV/AIDS, particularly in this country, has changed from a disease of death to a disease of pain,” said Dr. Richard Jermyn, director of the Voorhees Pain Center at Garden State Infectious Disease Associates, an affiliate of the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine. “Patients live longer, but they suffer chronic pain that comes from their disease, from the side effects of their medication and from a host of secondary infections.”
The Voorhees Pain Center is the only pain management center in the country devoted exclusively to treating patients with HIV/AIDS. It was established seven years ago to address the unique medical and spiritual needs of people struggling with the excruciating muscle and nerve pain associated with their disease. Dr. Jermyn and his staff provide a multi-disciplinary approach to pain control that includes rehabilitative medicine, psychiatry, physical therapy, spiritual counseling and detoxification. The specialists at the center hold weekly team meetings to monitor treatment plans that are individualized for each patient.
“Each person has different needs and responds differently to treatment,” Dr. Jermyn explained. “Many people with this disease also have a history of drug abuse and it’s common for people with chronic pain to become prone to depression, anxiety or anger. We try to manage their pain medically and provide counseling services to help them understand and cope with their dependencies and emotions.”
To arrange an interview with Dr. Jermyn, please contact Jerry Carey, UMDNJ News Service, at (856) 566-6171 or at (973) 972-3000.
UMDNJ is the nation’s largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the state's three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty at campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.