July 6, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Dear Nelson Vergel: How Do You Cope With Grief and Loss?
It seems lately that new HIV treatment or cure research findings will pop up, and I'll get my hopes up; then they'll disappear again like nothing happened. I guess I should resign myself to the fact that a cure is a long way off and stop the emotional roller coaster. In the meantime, I'm not doing well coping with so much loss and death. How have you dealt with all the loss you've witnessed as you've lived through so many years of the HIV epidemic?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 How Can I Have a Baby When I'm HIV Positive?
I'm HIV positive and I want to have a baby. Is this even possible? Will my child definitely be positive also? What precautions could I take to keep my baby and HIV-negative partner from becoming positive in the process?

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds in the "Mental Health and HIV" forum


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Is the Zerona Laser Effective in Removing Visceral Fat?
Despite my switching medications, my stomach continues to grow while the rest of my body is as veined as a road map. I'd love to try Zerona laser treatment if it'd be effective, but I haven't found any information about it used in HIV-related belly fat gain. Do you know if the Zerona laser has ever been used to combat visceral abdominal fat in HIV-positive people taking HIV meds?

Gerald Pierone, M.D., responds in the "Facial Wasting" forum


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the July 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Me and I," 1997; George Box

Visit the July 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "I Don't Have a Clue ...," is curated by Aaron Krach.
HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 HIV-Related Effects After Years of Nonprogression?
I'm 60 years old and I've been HIV positive since the late 1980s. I've also been a nonprogressor all that time. I've never taken HIV meds. My last CD4 count was 485 and my viral load was 178. My CD4 count has dropped below 500 many times and it's always bounced back, but my HIV doctor wants me to start taking HIV meds. I want to delay starting meds until my count stays in the low 400s or my viral load goes up. I'm concerned about long-term use and side effects of meds, but I'm also worried I'm starting to experience HIV-related effects for the first time. What do you think?

Joseph P. McGowan, M.D., F.A.C.P., responds in the "Choosing Your Meds" forum


 Missed Med Doses: How Long Until My Viral Load's Detectable?
I didn't fill my daily medicine holder correctly, and the last time I took Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) was probably 72 hours ago. My viral load has been undetectable since 2007. I'm deeply worried that I've ruined my chances of continued success with this treatment. Will my virus remain undetectable after this treatment interruption?

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds in the "Choosing Your Meds" forum


 How Promising Are the Current Eramune Drug Trials?
I've read a lot about the Eramune 01 and 02 clinical trials initiated recently. What exactly is happening in each of these trials? Are you optimistic about them, or any other trials of treatment strategies that could pave the way toward some type of HIV cure?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Fatigue and Anemia" forum


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Is It Possible to Counteract the Sexual Side Effects of Antidepressants?
I'm a 50-year-old man and I've been HIV positive since 2005. My viral load is undetectable and I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I've been taking the antidepressant Celexa (citalopram), as well as trazodone as a sleep aid, for the past three months. I feel much better mentally, have more energy and have even dropped a little weight. However, these meds have made sex, even masturbation, difficult. My doctor says my testosterone levels are normal. Are there any meds similar to what I'm taking that won't mess with my erection or sex drive as much?

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds in the "Mental Health and HIV" forum


 Why Is My Glucose Level Rising?
I started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) in September 2010, and my viral load is now undetectable. The one thing that troubles me is that my glucose level is steadily rising. I started taking fish oil supplements to help manage my high lipid levels, and they're slowly working. I don't know what to do about my glucose level, which I've read might indicate the beginnings of insulin resistance and potential lipodystrophy issues. What should I do?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum


Connect With Others

I'm HIV Positive Too Now: How Do I Tell My Poz Partner of 5 Years?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

My boyfriend has been positive for about 10 years and I knew he was positive when we decided to have a relationship. Well, five years later, here I am getting that positive result back. I'm sure we're not the first magnetic couple that is no longer a magnetic couple, right? Right?

Are there any comforting words I could give him once I get my confirmatory test results back? He feels terrible that he "did this to me" and he hates that he promised me in the beginning of our relationship that this would not happen. I've told him it's OK, that I'm not hurt or dying, and that maybe that was just too big of a promise to keep ... I don't know. How can I console him? -- PageofCups

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 One Viral Load "Blip" After Another?
I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) since April 2009. In December 2010 my viral load was undetectable and my CD4 count was 1,056. This past April my viral load was 56. My doc informed me that it was a blip and that I should have labs done in a month. In May my viral load had increased to 116, though my CD4 count also increased. What's going on? I've been adhering to my meds, but could my virus be resistant to a component of Atripla? Is it possible to have two blips in a row? Could both these lab results be part of the same blip?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Fatigue and Anemia" forum


HIV TRANSMISSION


 If HIV Can Be Transmitted by Blow Jobs, Why Aren't There More HIV Cases?
If it is possible to transmit HIV via unprotected oral sex, shouldn't HIV incidence be even higher than it is, considering the number of blow jobs that happen on any given night in a major city?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum






Activist Central

 NYC and Housing Works Launch re-fashioNYC


 Call to Action: Sign a Petition to Support Youth Participation in Global HIV/AIDS Decision-Making


 Action Alert: Condemn NY Post for Revealing Strauss-Kahn Victim Lives in AIDS Housing


 Tell Washington, D.C. to Fully Fund ADAP and Other HIV/AIDS Programs to Prevent Needless Deaths


 NMAC's ADAP Action Campaign: Get Free Flip Video Camera to Collect Stories