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Stigmatizing Lipo

Dec 17, 2005

I've lived with facial lipoatrophy for years (though I'm off all offending nukes). Anyway, AHF in Los Angeles (a healthcare provider) is now running ads with pictures of gay men with facial wasting saying "this is what you will get" with HIV. This "prevention" campaign has caused serveral straight friends to ask if I have AIDS. I need a solution to this facial issue now...I can no longer hide. And why would a healthcare provider set out to further stigmatize its own patients? Thanks

Response from Dr. Henry

Facial fat wasting (lipoatrophy) is a major concern in HIV therapeutics. Switching off offending meds (such as D4T and AZT) may stabilize and reverse if done early in the process. Various plastic surgery interventions can provide cosmetic benefit. Uridine supplementation is being evaluated for possible benefit. I have heard about the ad campaign you mention. I guess the intent might be to address the myth in at-risk uninfected patients that HIV treatment is easy/benign so there is no need to worry about getting HIV anymore since it is so easy to treat. Whether hihglighting the problem with facial atrophy is a wise or effective or proper way to communicate the message is open to debate. Thanks for registering your concern about it. KH

Changing treatment regime
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