August 16, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Do I Find a General Doctor That Knows About HIV?
I tested HIV positive through a clinic and found an infectious disease doctor who put me on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). My HIV doc says I need to find a general practitioner for my non-HIV issues. I actually really like him as a doctor, and I'm not sure how to find a general practitioner who's comfortable seeing HIV-positive patients. Any advice on where to start looking?

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


 Can I Trust the Quality of My Supplements?
Are you familiar with the New York Buyer's Club and their MAC Pack multivitamin and antioxidant program? Are their vitamins from reputable sources? I don't want to throw money away on products that are sub-par. Are these supplements worth it? Where can I get more information?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 It's Hard Enough to Be a Gay Teen; Now My Boyfriend May Be HIV Positive
I'm a gay 16-year-old. My boyfriend recently found out he may be HIV positive. The doctor told him his viral load is very low and he needs to retest in six months to see if he really is positive. We had unprotected sex before his results; I topped him but did not ejaculate inside of him. I've tested negative so far. I'm very depressed; I was being young and stupid. My parents would kill me if I became HIV positive. I could be thrown out of the house, because my father's a pastor. I hate myself for being gay, and nobody understands but my boyfriend. What can I do?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Is 3 Weeks Too Soon for a Second Sculptra Shot?
I had my first Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) shot at the end of July with two vials under the assistance program and just scheduled my second visit three weeks after for two more vials. Is this too soon or does it matter? I won't qualify for assistance again for two more years and want to get the best possible results. How much would each vial cost without assistance?

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


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the August 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Fire Faeries," 2000
Michael P. Moore

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


 Any Suggestions for Taking Cialis With Kaletra?
I know there's a drug interaction between Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and the erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis (tadalafil), for which I have a prescription for 20 mg. Any idea how much I should start with when using Cialis? Should I split the pill in half or just take the full dose?

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


 What Do Studies Say About Taking Epzicom and Reyataz Without Norvir?
How acceptable and prevalent is the combination of Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Reyataz (atazanavir) without Norvir (ritonavir)? I'm currently taking all three. My virus is undetectable and has been for several years. My doctor is quite conservative and not very willing to change regimens. The side effects and expense of Norvir are my concerns. How does one know in which cases Norvir is necessary?

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


 HIV Treatment Newbie: How Do I Take My Meds Correctly?
I've been on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for about two weeks with minimal side effects, but now I'm worried about making sure I take it correctly. How important is it to take at the same time every day? How much leeway do I have? Can I not have food two hours before and one hour after just because of side effects or because of the effectiveness of the medication? Can I take my meds after or while drinking alcohol? What if I miss a dose?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


HIV/AIDS, HEPATITIS & OTHER HEALTH ISSUES


 High-Grade Anal Dysplasia: Should I Be Getting Anal Pap Smears?
I have high-grade anal dysplasia. My colorectal surgeon does a visual inspection every four months to see if there are changes. He's never done an anal Pap smear to detect cancer. Do you recommend an anal Pap for people with dysplasia? Should I be having more sensitive tests done?

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


 My Daughter Was Just Diagnosed With Hepatitis B: What Do We Need to Know?
We adopted our daughter when she was a baby 26 years ago. She was recently diagnosed with hepatitis B. She'd been vaccinated, but it didn't work because she'd already contracted it from her birth mother. How dangerous is this to her liver at this point, being that she has had it all of her life and we just found out?

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


 What's CPK, and What Happens if My Levels of It Are High for a While?
What is the health risk of a continued elevated CPK (creatine phosphokinase) level?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


Connect With Others

Newly HIV Positive: When Will I Stop Feeling Like My Life's Out of My Control?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I was diagnosed HIV positive in May. From what me and my doctor can conclude, I became infected in February. ... The last three months have really been a struggle. I started taking an antidepressant, and I have taken Ambien to sleep every night for the last three months but I want to stop. I feel like my life is out of my control and that drives me crazy since I am a control freak. I also have some paranoia when talking with others ... I'm always really worried that others are judging me because I'm HIV positive.

Can others let me know how long it took you to accept the fact that you have HIV? Thank you for listening. -- Gizmo

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HIV TRANSMISSION


 Needle Poke at Work: What's My Next Step?
I work at a state prison and caught two inmates on a cellblock tattooing each other with a homemade machine. I took it from them and about 20 seconds later I accidently poked myself with the needle at the end of the tattoo "gun." I can't remember if it penetrated my skin or not. It hurt a little bit but did not bleed or leave any mark. There's no way my work can tell me the HIV or hepatitis status of the two inmates. Is this a transmission risk or am I just being paranoid? What, if anything, should I do next?

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


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Gay Guy Gone Straight! Did I Put Myself at Risk?
I am 30, gay, and have always played safe in the past. I hurt my back and my doctor sent me to a physical therapist. I arrive at the place, and a nice girl takes me to the room where I get a very therapeutic lower back massage. But then she starts to play with my penis! At first I was hesitant but figured "why not, it feels good, the hell with it." So basically, I strayed from gay and got a hand job at a massage parlor, with oil. I couldn't see if she had any cuts or lesions on her hands. Am I at risk for HIV from this? How about other sexually transmitted diseases?

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



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