Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Read Now: Expert Opinions on HIV Cure Research
   
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
           
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


Thanks!
Jun 25, 2009

Hi there, You are the kind of people who makes me happy in life, not only for the answer but also for the way of posting more and more information to read and analyze.

I have been reading and reading since I got into this site. I have thousands of questions, You know, it is a hard time and searching and reading cases help me to spend my energy looking for more information and help my partner.

I have read today, as I live in Toronto, that it is important living with hiv to take care of the body and to take care of the brain. I started to take this easy and be constant. I admit that sometimes I go crazy, cry and have some reactions but who doesn't?...

I have to say again THANKS :D

I will read carefully your notes and other posted here in this very well and organized site.

Take care, xoxo

Robert

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your thanks. I'm delighted you have found the information here enlightening and encouraging. Keep reading. Get informed. The more you know about HIV and its treatments, the less scary HIV becomes. I've been "positively charged" since January 1991! We've come a long way since then in the management of this illness. I note that you are from Toronto. (I know that city well having grown up just across Lake Ontario from you in Rochester, NY). There is some recent news about HIV out of Canada. I'll post it below. These types of advances will eventually lead one day to a cure. Let's all be here for that day, OK?

Cyberhugs to both you and your partner. I'm here if you need me.

Be well.

Dr. Bob

Key to HIV Eradication May Lie in Memory T Cells, Researchers Say

By Myles Helfand

June 24, 2009

It feels like every few months, some research team or another announces the discovery of a new way to potentially eradicate HIV. So press releases such as the one below from Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) Florida must always be taken with a grain of salt. However, this new development in the HIV treatment field appears worth getting at least a little perked up about.

The focus of this new research is a group of immune cells called "memory T cells." It's believed that these cells are harboring "latent" forms of HIV -- HIV that manages to lie dormant within the body, hidden away from HIV medications that flow through the bloodstream. If a person stops taking HIV meds, this reservoir of hidden HIV springs back into action and the virus spreads anew, the theory goes.

Enter a team of VGTI Florida researchers, in concert with scientists from the University of Montreal. They believe they've actually been able to pinpoint the specific types of memory T cells in which HIV is hiding -- and, even better, they think they've figured out how those HIV-infected memory T cells stay alive. Armed with this information, they hope they can develop a new type of HIV treatment that attacks HIV-infected memory T cells at the same time that existing HIV meds attack other HIV-infected cells. "We believe that by attacking the disease in these distinct two ways at once for an extended period of time, we can eliminate the reservoirs of HIV that currently persist within the human body, leaving an individual disease-free," says Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Ph.D., the scientific director of VGTI Florida.

Pretty dramatic words, no? Whether this is truly something to get excited about remains to be seen: The researchers need to test their theory in animal studies before they can even begin to see whether this approach will work in humans. But it's another sign of slow progress in a field that has long felt stagnant, and hopefully each new tidbit we learn about how HIV works will indeed bring us closer to the day we can find a cure.

You can read the full press release from VGTI Florida below. We also hope you'll leave your comments at the bottom of this page!

VGTI Florida, University of Montreal Researchers Uncover Approach for Possibly Eradicating HIV Infection From VGTI Florida St. Lucie, FL -- Researchers from the newly-established VGTI Florida and the University of Montreal have uncovered a possible method for eradicating HIV infection in the human body. The researchers have also revealed new information which demonstrates how HIV persists in the body -- even in patients receiving drug treatments -- and how the virus continues to replicate itself in individuals undergoing treatment. The research findings will be published in the online version of the journal Nature Medicine on June 21 and will be featured in an upcoming print edition of the journal.

Medical advancements in the past 20 years have significantly increased the survival rates of AIDS patients. In fact, approximately 90 percent of patients infected with AIDS can survive with the disease as long as they are treated with a complex series of antiretroviral drugs.

"Current medications allow us to control HIV and limit its progression in most cases," explained Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Ph.D., current scientific director for VGTI Florida, a former scientist at the University of Montreal, and senior author of the research paper. "However, the medications do not eradicate the disease. Instead, the disease persists within the body -- much like water in a reservoir - and is never fully destroyed. We believe our latest research may help scientists and physicians overcome this hurdle."

The research team was able to identify a possible new way of attacking HIV by first identifying the specific cells where HIV infection persists in patients currently undergoing treatment.

They found that the disease is able to survive within two subsets of memory T-cells. Memory T-cells are a portion of the body's immune system and have the ability to learn, detect and attack certain types of infectious diseases.

By infecting cells within the body's own immune system, HIV is able to avoid antiviral treatments that are effective in stopping HIV in other cell types in the body. In-effect, HIV uses the body's own defense system as a hideout.

The research team was also successful in identifying how these HIV-infected memory T-cells replenish themselves. When populating T-cells, HIV does not replicate itself as it does in other cell types on the body. Instead, HIV persists in memory T-cells through cell division -- a finding that holds significant implications for possibly stopping the disease.

"Based on this research, we believe one possible method for eliminating HIV in the body is to use a combined approach," said Dr. Sékaly. "We propose the use of medications that target viral replication of HIV throughout the body, in combination with drugs that prevent infected memory T-cells from dividing. We believe that by attacking the disease in these distinct two ways at once for an extended period of time, we can eliminate the reservoirs of HIV that currently persist within the human body, leaving an individual disease-free."

The next step for researchers is to begin testing their proposed treatment method using animal models and newly developed therapies.

"While this is a preliminary finding, we are hopeful that this research discovery will guide us in eradicating HIV infection in the body," said Dr. Sékaly.

Help Jun 24, 2009

hi,

Recently, a month ago my partner was diagnozed positive and me negative. We have been together for more than 4 years. Probably he has been positive for 8 months (We spoke clear and that is the time We calculated)... I am prepared for whatever result as I understand I have to be testing for 6 months. I have a question.

Being the top reduce the risk of infection? Using lub reduce the risk of infection?

I was bottom for few times and as I do not support that role the movements were never hard, they were slow and carefull. We never cum inside each other, does it reduce the risk?.

I am so worried and I appreciate your help.

Thanks.

Robert

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Robert,

Sorry to hear about your partner's recent HIV diagnosis. You are correct: You'll need an HIV test at both the three- and six-month marks to confirm your negative HIV status. It's encouraging that your baseline HIV test is negative.

Responding to your specific questions:

1. The insertive partner is always at less risk than the receptive partner for all types of penetrative sex (oral, vaginal, anal). In other words it's less risky being a top gun than a bottom boy.

2. Lubrication decreases the risk of local trauma and therefore has an indirect effect of decreasing the risk of HIV-transmission. However, lubrication itself does not have any anti-HIV properties.

3. Not ejaculating "inside" reduces but does not completely eliminate HIV-transmission/acquisition risk.

Robert, I would suggest both you and your partner peruse the wealth of information on this site. I'm confident you'll find it enlightening and encouraging. For instance the information on The Body's homepage under the heading "HIV Basics" may help your partner. There he will find a chapter entitled "Just Diagnosed." Also, you both would benefit from reading through the archives of the Safer Sex and Prevention forum. There you will find whole chapters devoted to magnetic couples (one poz, one neggie), HIV prevention, HIV transmission and safer sexual techniques. I'll reprint below some information from those archives that discusses harm-reduction strategies for magnetic couples.

Good luck to both you and your positively charged partner.

Be well.

Dr. Bob

condom failed (HARM REDUCTION STRATEGIES FOR MAGNETIC COUPLES, 2009) May 27, 2009

I am an hiv neg. female, my boyfriend has been hiv pos. for 20 years.and his viral load has always been undetectable.3 nights ago,after sex, we realized the condom had come off and was still inside me,it took some digging, but he got it out.and it was evident that he had come inside me.. afterwards, i started spotting, and started my period the next day. wich has me concerned.i get tested every 4 to 6 months, and had just been tested a week before..i am not going to get all stressed out about it,i know nothing is ever 100% safe,and it can only make things harder. but, the fact that i was bleeding a little has me worried.. how likely is it i've been infected ?, and how long should i wait to get tested again?.this is the first, and hopefuly the last accident we have had.!!

Advertisement > Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Condom failure does place you at some degree of risk for HIV. That your positive boyfriend has an undetectable HIV plasma viral load would significantly decrease the risk of HIV transmission. However, your spotting may increase the HIV-transmission risk. In situations where there has been a significant HIV exposure, post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) would be warranted if it can be started soon and no later than 72 hours after the exposure. Your exposure was three nights ago; consequently, this is no longer an option for you. But I would encourage you and your boyfriend to review the information about harm-reduction strategies for magnetic couples in the archives of this forum. We have an entire chapter devoted to magnetic couples. I'll reprint below a sample of what can be found there. At this point we would recommend you have an HIV-antibody test at the three- and six-month marks. The six-month test is recommended by the CDC because you had a significant HIV exposure from a partner confirmed to be HIV positive.

Good luck. I agree getting all stressed out won't help!

Dr. Bob

Undetectable Viral Load in Semen MAGNETIC COUPLE SEXUAL RISK 2009) May 26, 2009

A "big G'day" from Australia to you, Doctor Bob!

I am an HIV positive male involved in a relationship with an HIV negative female.

I have been on Atripla (or the Aussie equivalent) for a year now, and for 10 of those months been undetectable.

My girlfriend and I always practice safe sex - I wouldn't put her at risk for anything!

However, during sex last night, the condom broke. We were unaware that it broke and probably had vaginal intercourse for about 15 minutes before realising it had snapped.

I did not ejaculate inside her, but (obviously), can't tell you how much pre-cum would have "leaked" during this 10 minute period.

What are the chances she would have contracted HIV from me?

We are both frantically worried about it and it is putting a strain on our (otherwise wonderful) relationship.

I have read that a recent Swiss study found that a consistent undetectable viral load in the blood correlated with the semen, but I have read other reports that say this might now be the case.

I am hoping that being undetectable and not cumming inside her stacks the odds well and truly in her favour. What would be the chances of her contracting something from this one-off incident?

Thanks if you can shed any light on the matter, and good luck to you and your partner in your own magnetic relationship - opposites attract!!

All the best, Oz Boy. xx

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Boy from Oz,

Here's what we know:

1. The HIV plasma viral load usually, but not always, correlates with the HIV viral load in semen (or cervical secretions).

2. Having an undetectable HIV plasma viral load significantly decreases the chances of HIV transmission.

3. Not ejaculating in the love canal significantly decreases the chance of HIV transmission.

4. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) taken as soon as possible and no later than 72 hours after an exposure can decrease the chance of HIV transmission. (You can read much more about PEP in the archives.)

To specifically answer your question, the odds are very much in your girlfriend's favor. However, HIV testing is still warranted. I would also recommend you and your gal-pal review the harm-reduction strategies available for magnetic couples (PEP, PrEP, proper condom use, etc.). I'll reprint below some information from the archives. Please note we have an entire chapter devoted to magnetic couples.

Good luck from one magnetic couple to another! Magnetic couples rock!

Dr. Bob

Hiv infection? Magnet couple stress and fear (MAGNETIC COUPLE SEXUAL RISK 2008) Oct 8, 2008

I am negative at the moment and my boyfreind is HIV positive. he is an HIV educator actually.

After I accepted his status, we finally became intimate with each other. I did oral sex on him 3 times that night. Twice on his penis and once with his ass. He precums almost instantly (I don't know if its just with me lol), but I feel like despite the wealth of knowledge about the risk of unprotected oral sex I feel like I may have exposed myself. I didnt not swallow much if any precum. I had a little after taste and I mouthwashed mid session. I only have minor gum bleed after toothbrushing. I am a little concerned about anal oral intercourse too even thought I saw no possible way i could get infected. He penetrated me with a condom and i am not concerned about infection there.

I just want to feel a little assured about my chances for infection here. I love him so much and I find it hard to be intimate with him without thinking about his status. It's a reason why I can't put myself in a condition to penetrate him. And I feel horrible even thinking about talking to him about it because he is an HIV educator and probably know more than most about safe sex practices. Gawd, Just thinking about it and letting my mind run amok about possible infection makes me want to cry becasue I dont want to hurt nor loose him, but I want to trust him with us and our intimacy. And I want to be able to give him my all when we make love without holding myself back.

Given what I said, what were my exposure risks. And what advise do you have for me and the relationship with the one i can see myself with forever?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your HIV-acquisition risk is extremely low. There have been no documented cases of HIV transmission due to rimming or getting rimmed. Oral sex carries only a very slight risk for HIV acquisition/transmission. You can read much more about this in the archives of this forum. We have entire chapters devoted to oral sex and sexual-HIV transmission risk.

Regarding your concerns about sexual activity within a magnetic relationship, as you might imagine, you are not alone. It's something all magnetic couples must come to terms with. Communication is key and that is what is lacking in your current relationship! That your Mr. Right is an HIV educator should make communication easier, not more difficult! Chances are he's as worried about infecting you as you are about acquiring the virus. The two of you are overdue for a heart-to-heart (note that's heart-to-heart, not hard-to-hard) talk! You need to openly discuss your concerns and together the two of you need to develop sexual rituals based on what is known scientifically about the HIV-transmission risk and on your individual levels of comfort. I suggest both you and your Mr. Wonderful read through the chapter in the archives devoted to magnetic couples. You'll soon see your concerns are shared by many of us in serodiscordant relationships. In addition to taking equal responsibility to make sure HIV is not transmitted, there are a number of other measures the two of you might want to consider to further reduce transmission risk:

1. Have your poz-partner take antiretrovirals to drive his HIV plasma viral load down to undetectable levels. This will significantly decrease transmission risk.

2. Get a starter dose of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to have on hand just in case there is an accidental exposure (condom break).

3. Consider PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). This involves the negative partner taking antiretroviral medication prophylactically on a routine basis. We still don't know if this approach is effective. Clinical trials are underway. Some magnetic couples aren't waiting for the results of the trials, but rather are instituting PrEP as a harm-reduction strategy now.

You can read much more about PEP, PrEP and other risk-reduction strategies in the archives.

Finally, I want to assure you from personal experience that opposites attract and that happily-ever-after can indeed become a reality for magnetic couples. Steve (Dr. Steve, the expert in The Body's Tratamientos forum) is HIV negative. I'm "virally enhanced." We've been happily-ever-aftering for 15 years and yes, that includes toe-curling, wake-the-neighbor, own-name-forgetting fusion sex. My advice to you is to make sure Mr. Right doesn't get away for all the wrong reasons.

Good luck to you both!

Dr. Bob



Previous
I know double bagging is a bad idea -- does that also go for condom use in conjunction with a female condom?
Next
nose secretions mixed into food. (NASAL MUCOUS AND HIV, 2009)

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement