A retrospective chart review was undertaken to collect and report data on the prevalence and characteristics of pain in persons with terminal-stage AIDS A convenience sample consisting of 50 patient charts at a residential AIDS hospice was utilized Data were collected from the McCaffery Initial Pain Assessment Tool (IPAT) (1983) which was completed at the time of each hospice admission The IPAT is composed of 10 sections that collectively describe the patient's pain experience Demographic and AIDS-related pathology data were also collected Data were analysed using descriptive statistics to examine the incidence and characteristics of pain Pain was experienced by a majority of the subjects in the sample Pain levels for‘present pain,‘worst pain gets,‘best pain gets' and‘acceptable level of pain’are reported Characteristics of pain including location, causal factors and verbal descriptors are reported Implications for nursing practice and suggestions for further research are discussed