August 2, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Would Adding Human Growth Hormone to My Regimen Help Fight Fatigue?
I'm a 46-year-old man with an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count of about 500. I take Isentress (raltegravir) two times a day along with Norvir (ritonavir) and Reyataz (atazanavir) once a night. I have at times felt run down and tired. Would there be any benefit to my overall health in taking human growth hormone (HGH)? Would it help with my fatigue?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 How Much of Each Kind of Alcoholic Beverage Constitutes "One Drink"?
When doctors say things like "one alcoholic drink per day has no effect on the immune system," I think some people don't realize what that means from one type of drink to another. Could you clarify what amount of wine, hard liquor or beer "one drink" would be?

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


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Didn't Know My New Partner's HIV Status Until I Found His Meds: What Now?
I've been dating a coworker for several months. Since I already knew him, we started a sexual relationship relatively quickly. We've had protected vaginal sex, and given each other unprotected oral sex. I have genital herpes and was outbreak free during these times. Today, while cleaning my car, I found two pills under my passenger seat. One pill had the numbers "227" on it. I Googled it and found out it's an HIV medication. He's the only person who's been in my car besides my kids. What if he's HIV positive? Should I confront him or just stop speaking to him?

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


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

image from the August 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Untitled [John S. and Jonathan]," 1985
Mark Morrisroe

Visit the August 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Ciao," is curated by Jake Yuzna.

HIV/AIDS TREATMENT & DRUG INTERACTIONS


 What Can My Partner Do About Sleep Troubles and Weight Gain From Atripla?
My partner has been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for one year. As of our last doctor's visit his viral load and CD4 count were responding well to treatment, but he has trouble sleeping at night and has gained weight for no apparent reason. Could these be side effects of Atripla? What can he do about them?

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


 New Drug for Hepatitis C: Which HIV Meds Can Go With It?
Can a person be on HIV meds and still receive the new treatment for hepatitis C (ribavirin and peginterferon -- the longtime standard of care -- plus one of the newly approved protease inhibitors) without discontinuing HIV meds? Do we know yet which HIV meds are safe to take with the new hep C drug Incivek (telaprevir)? Which HIV meds should be avoided when taking this treatment?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Drug Interactions:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 My HIV-Positive Husband Was Exposed to Chicken Pox: What's Next?
My husband has an AIDS diagnosis. He takes Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and has been for five months. His CD4 count is 316 and his viral load is 90. He's never had or been vaccinated for chicken pox before. Our daughter and son recently developed chicken pox and are both still contagious, and today my husband was exposed to it. If he does develop chicken pox, what should we do? Are there any measures he can take after exposure to possibly stop him from getting sick?

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


 Schizophrenia, Sexually Compulsive Behavior and HIV: Are They Related?
A doctor told me I had paranoid schizophrenia in 1994. Two years later I stopped my meds, bounced around at different jobs and became addicted to porn and sex. Then in 2002 I found out I was HIV positive. The next two doctors said I had schizoaffective disorder, followed by another doctor who said I had paranoid schizophrenia again. Is sexually compulsive behavior linked to schizoaffective disorder or to schizophrenia (and what's the difference between the two)? Did my mental illness lead to my becoming HIV positive?

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


Connect With Others

Last Week I Tested Positive: I Don't Want to Die, but How Can I Live?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I'm 27 years old. Last Monday, July 25, my doc gave me the bad news. I'd tested HIV positive. ...

I couldn't stop crying; I still can't stop. ... I only told my boyfriend of 1 year and 6 months, because I was afraid he might come to the same fate. He is very supportive, but for how long? ...

I don't know what to do. I'm so scared; I can't tell anyone because they will look down on me. ... I'm not sure if I can survive this; just talking about it gives me a knot in my throat.

Please, I'm begging anyone to write to me. I'm feeling all alone, angry and disappointed in myself. No matter what road I take, I end up at the same destination: misery. Can anyone else relate? -- MsCharlie1

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What Are the Different Kinds of T Cells?
How many types of T cells are there in our bodies, and what do they do? How are they different from one another? Does HIV only attack certain types of T cells?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING


 Can I Get a Tattoo While Taking a Course of PEP?
I have six days left of a 28-day round of HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Will being tattooed while taking Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) be a problem? Should I worry that the drugs are affecting my immune system in such a way that a tattoo would create a portal for infections I would not normally need to worry about?

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


 Are There Dietary or Medication Restrictions Before HIV Testing?
Is there anything a person shouldn't eat before HIV antibody testing? Are there medications that shouldn't be taken? Are there any other special preparations a person should know about in advance of the test, or can a person just walk in anytime they want and get an HIV test?

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



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