July 12, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Can I Lose Weight Without Gaining Too Much Muscle?
I'm 47 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall and I weigh 220 pounds. I'd like to lose 40 to 50 pounds without building up too much muscle. My ideal look is lean and very defined, but not bulky. Do you have any quick weight-loss tips?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Is Smoking Marijuana Worse for HIVers Than for HIV-Negative Users?
Does smoking pot have an effect on a person's CD4 count? Does it cause any additional harm to HIV-positive people that it doesn't cause in people living without HIV?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 What Should HIVers Be Aware of Before Having Cosmetic Surgery?
Are procedures like liposuction and "tummy tucks" safe for people living with HIV? What should an HIV-positive person be aware of before having this type of surgery?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

image from the July 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Untitled," 2001
Mooshka

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


 What's the Link Between Joint Pain and Selzentry?
I was experiencing extreme pain in my finger joints, elbows, shoulders, back and knees, to the point where I could barely function. I was taking Selzentry (maraviroc, Celsentri); since I stopped taking it about three weeks ago, the pain has pretty much subsided. Naturally this leads me to believe Selzentry was the culprit for my pain. What do you think? Is joint pain a common side effect of this drug?

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


 Is It Really Better to Start HIV Meds ASAP?
I'm a 36-year-old guy, newly HIV positive and really struggling to understand the subject of when to start HIV treatment. You've mentioned on this forum in the past that you believe evidence will emerge that starting HIV meds earlier is better for preserving the immune system. I've also read that being on meds for too long isn't good either and that it's better to just start taking them at the recommended time. How do I figure out what the best thing is for me to do?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Tips for Managing Anxiety and Depression?
I was given an AIDS diagnosis in 2008, at age 32. I was very ill and in the hospital for a week. Now my CD4 count is around 750 and my viral load is 12,000. I've had mild depression for years but since my diagnosis it's gotten worse. At first I had bad panic attacks. I started an antidepressant and a beta-blocker, and they helped a lot. I have seen a therapist and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). My biggest problem now is anxiety when traveling. I have this irrational fear that something bad will happen to me far from home, and then I panic. Is there anything I can do when I'm on my own (not in a therapy session) to help manage episodes like this?

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


 Is My Low-Testosterone Treatment OK for People Living With HIV?
I'm HIV positive, my CD4 count is 450, my viral load is below 20 copies and I take Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Isentress (raltegravir). I was recently diagnosed with secondary hypogonadism (low levels of certain sex hormones). My endocrinologist prescribed Femara (letrozole) to increase my testosterone level. Has this course of treatment been studied in HIV-positive people? What else should I be aware of when it comes to this condition?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


Connect With Others

How Can I Quit Smoking Cigarettes?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

Since the 4th of July, I have been trying to get myself independent of smoking cigarettes. Although I have yet to kick the habit completely, I have been able to cut down. I used to smoke two packs a day, but now I'm down to half a pack a day. That's a big drop for me. You see, I've been smoking since they were only 48 cents a pack. I've had some issues putting them down before, tried pills, patches and other things that didn't work. It's kind of funny how we know we're doing all we can to make ourselves healthy, yet some of us continue to hinder our health with these things. Does anyone have any quitting advice? -- alive2

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Viral Load Low but Detectable: What Should I Be Keeping an Eye On?
I was diagnosed with HIV in March 2009. My viral load is 892 and my CD4 count is 952. My viral load tends to hover in the 900-to-1,000 range, and my CD4 count tends to stay in the 700-to-800 range. Is this average progression? Are my numbers likely to remain stable for a while longer? What factors might upset this trend? Should I think about starting HIV meds soon?

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


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Risk of Sticking Random Objects Where the Sun Doesn't Shine?
I was alone and being stupid, and I put an old toothbrush and a sun umbrella tube in my anus. I did it a few times, and bled once or twice. I only washed these objects with water before I stuck them up there. Has anyone ever become HIV positive in this way? I'm killing myself inside with this question!

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






Activist Central

 July 20 -- One Year of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy: How Are We Doing?


 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