July 26, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Did a Bone Marrow Transplant Cure a Man of HIV?
I've read about the American gentleman in Berlin who was functionally cured of HIV with a bone marrow transplant that was done to treat his leukemia. I've also heard that this isn't a viable treatment option due to the risk involved. I had a friend whose child didn't survive a bone marrow procedure, so I get that. But why did this particular transplant work against HIV? How were the bone marrow donor's cells different from most other people's, and what did they do to "Berlin patient" Tim Brown's cells?

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


 Any Tips for Dealing With Acne?
I tried the anabolic steroid Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate) for about five months and saw some good results in my lean muscle mass along with lifting weights. However, I had such severe acne breakouts that I had to stop taking nandrolone. Is this a common side effect of steroid and testosterone use? What can be done to manage acne in general?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


when experts blog

Want more insights from some of TheBody.com's forum experts? Check out their blogs! Three of the HIV professionals from our "Ask the Experts" forums also have blogs on TheBody.com. All longtime HIV survivors themselves, they regularly blog about their thoughts on HIV treatment research; unique perspectives on the history of the epidemic; tips for living a more fulfilling life with HIV; and much more.


David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. ("Mental Health" and "Substance Use" forums):
Riding the Tiger: Life Lessons From an HIV-Positive Therapist

Bob Frascino, M.D. ("Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" and "Fatigue and Anemia" forums):
Life, Love, Sex, HIV and Other Unscheduled Events

Nelson Vergel, B.S.Ch.E., M.B.A. ("Nutrition and Exercise" forum):
Outsmarting HIV: A Survivor's Perspective


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Why Should My Partner Switch to "More Modern Meds" if He's Doing Well?
My partner has been HIV positive since 2009, and his viral load has been undetectable ever since he started taking Retrovir (zidovudine, AZT) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Now his doctors want him to switch out the Retrovir for Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir). According to them, Kaletra is "modern" compared to Retrovir. Why would the doctors want to do this? Is it wise to switch off meds that seem to be working?

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


  Viral Load Low but Detectable Soon After Seroconversion: Should I Start Meds?
I believe I seroconverted to HIV positive in mid-April; I was diagnosed in early May. My first lab test results showed that my CD4 count was 485 and my viral load was 366. Four weeks later my CD4 count was 603 and my viral load was 223. Given these numbers, should I start HIV meds now or continue to monitor?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 How Should I Start Managing My High Cholesterol?
I was diagnosed with HIV in 2000 and started taking HIV meds immediately. My viral load has been undetectable since 2001 and my CD4 count remains at or around 400. Three years ago I was put on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). For the past 11 years I've tolerated all my meds with no side effects. My current challenge is trying to manage my hypertension and high cholesterol. What are some first steps in doing that?

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


 Started Using Again: How Long Before Meth Has an Impact?
I've been HIV positive for more than 10 years, and recently I started using crystal meth again. How long will it take for the drug to cause problems with my HIV health?

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


More Questions About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:


Connect With Others

Can't Get Health Care and Pay Bills: Anybody Know About Help for the Underinsured?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

My insurance has a high deductible of close to $3,000 that applies to blood work, which is expected to be more than this annually. I know that ADAP can cover med deductibles and costs, but I heard that there are organizations that will assist the underinsured with deductibles. ... My health insurance premiums alone are over $6,000 a year. But since I am working and have insurance, I do not qualify for very-low-income programs in my state. Has anyone in a similar situation been able to get assistance with medical bills in other ways? I don't want to have to go into bankruptcy to get medical care. -- Bensf

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Could My HIV Med Regimen Be Causing My High Liver Enzyme Levels?
I just got the results of my most recent labs and my liver enzymes are quite elevated. My physician's assistant was mystified about this. I'm a little scared, to tell you the truth. I've been on Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for seven years and have never had such an issue. What do you think, and what would you suggest?

Mark Holodniy, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.I.C., responds in the "Understanding Your Labs" forum


HIV & HEPATITIS TRANSMISSION


 Just Tested Positive for Hepatitis C: Can My Wife and I Safely Have a Baby?
I recently tested positive for hepatitis C; fortunately my wife tested negative. We've been trying to have a baby for the past four years with no luck, so we're thinking of trying in vitro fertilization (IVF). Is IVF still an option considering my hep C status (I'm not currently being treated)? Can we still have a healthy baby? Would a fertility clinic agree to work with us? What's the possibility that this disease might be transmitted to my wife or baby?

Barbara McGovern, M.D., responds in the "Hepatitis & HIV Coinfection" forum


 If I Swim With My Period, Do I Put Others at Risk for HIV or Hepatitis C?
I'm coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C. I have never, not once since my HIV diagnosis in 1988, gone swimming while I have my period. I've heard it's safe to swim in a pool as the chemicals kill the viruses, but I still can't bring myself to enter a swimming area that others share as I have quite a heavy menstrual flow as well. Am I being ridiculous?

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



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