August 9, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 What Effects Can GBL and GHB Have on an HIVer's Body?
Can HIV-positive people take the drugs GBL (gamma butyrolactone) or GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) for recreation occasionally? Do they interact with HIV meds, or have an effect on CD4 count or viral load?

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


 World Travel for HIVers: What to Know, and What to Pack?
I'm newly diagnosed with HIV and I've been on meds for the past six months. For my work I'm required to travel to various countries in places like Central Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. What information or items, other than my meds, should I take with me as part of my travel first aid/health kit?

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


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Could My Baby Be HIV Positive if I Remain Negative?
I'm HIV negative and my husband is HIV positive. For three years we've been trying to have a baby, with no success. This February we tried in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI). I am now 19 weeks pregnant. We are both overjoyed. I was tested for HIV before IVF, and I tested negative. Is there any danger of transmitting the virus to the baby? Can HIV survive in a sperm cell?

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:
"Series of Masks (detail)," 2006
Humberto Moreno

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


 Not Taking HIV Meds While Fasting for Ramadan: What Are the Risks?
Right now in my country, every Muslim is supposed to be fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. We have to fast from dawn until dusk, which is 5 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. But I'm also supposed to take my HIV medication during that period. What are the risks of not taking my meds on time? What would you say to others in my position?

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


 Edurant or Atripla: Which Is Better?
My CD4 count is 360 and my viral load is 26,000. My doctor recommends Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) as the new HIV med Edurant (rilpivirine, TMC278) will not be available in my country for another year. I feel comfortable with the idea of waiting for Edurant to arrive as I've been reading that it carries the potential for fewer side effects than Atripla. I'll be on this med for a long time, so I want what's best for my body and mind. What do you think?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Why Does My Doctor Want Me Off Xanax if It's Working?
I was diagnosed with HIV in June 2010. Since then I've been very anxious, and I've been taking Xanax (alprazolam). My latest lab results showed that my HIV med regimen is not working due to resistance, so I'm switching meds. While we're at it, my doctor suggested I change Xanax for an anti-anxiety med like Zoloft (sertraline) or Lexapro (escitalopram). Is changing necessary, since Xanax seems to be working fine?

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


 What's This Rash on the Foreskin of My Penis?
I've been HIV positive for almost nine years, and I've only ever taken Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I've developed a rash on the tip and foreskin of my penis that my HIV doctor thinks is a yeast infection or diabetic lesions. Even masturbation hurts, and inflames the skin in that area. What do you think could be going on?

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


Connect With Others

How Do I Come to Terms With My HIV Status, So I Can Love Again?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I'm a 25-year-old guy, and I've fallen in love with a guy I met six months ago. He is HIV negative and is aware of my status. However, I know that my status worries him and is one of the factors that are affecting him considering a committed relationship with me.

I've been trying my best to shake myself of him and move on but I'm so scared that finding another guy who is kind and caring, as well as accepting of my status, just won't happen for me. I know this fear is due to the fact that I still have not come full circle in accepting my status. There are days where I think to myself that I am strong, healthy, and OK with living with HIV. But there are far more days where I stress myself out questioning how I got myself in this predicament.

... I know there are other people with HIV who have found love and are truly happy. I want that love. But before I can have that love and truly enjoy it, I need to find closure with being HIV positive, and also have the strength to move on if someone can't love me for me. So scared to start this process ... Has anyone else out there ever felt this way? -- LearningToLoveMe

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Did My Steroid Shot Cause My CD4 Count to Drop Drastically?
My CD4 count has been as high as 900. Then the day I got a steroid shot in my nose, I also had my blood drawn and my CD4 count had dropped to 92! Now, a couple of weeks later, it is in the 400s. Is all this due to the steroid shot? Should I be worried?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION


 Did My Good Deed Put Me at Risk for HIV?
I'm currently on vacation in Guatemala with my family, and we witnessed a horrible car accident. My cousin, a recent graduate of med school, and I ran to help. The man involved in the accident died, and we helped to carry a bleeding woman to a pickup truck to be taken for help. Her blood did get on my hands, and I had an abrasion on one of them. It was just a tiny bit of blood, and it was also raining heavily that day. Do I have anything to worry about as far as HIV risk?

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



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