August 23, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Doing Well on Meds, But Do I Need to Worry About "Collateral Damage Over Time"?
I've only missed one dose in the past two years. My CD4 count went from 8 to 420 and my viral load dropped from 1.5 million to undetectable. Is this kind of rebound common? Also, I see frequent reference to "collateral damage over time." What is it and should I be concerned?

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


 What Can I Do to Treat My Osteoporosis?
I have been HIV positive since 1985. I take protease inhibitors and have advanced osteoporosis. My doctor gave me testosterone and there is a little improvement. I have kidney problems so I can't take calcium supplements. He told me about Fosamax (alendronate sodium). Do you think that it would help me? What else can I do?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


More Questions About Living With HIV/AIDS:


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 When Sperm Washing Fails, What Else Can We Try?
I'm HIV positive and my wife is negative. I'm on meds and my viral load has been consistently less than 53. I always wear a condom during sex, but now we want to have a baby. We have tried sperm washing and intrauterine insemination three times, but it did not work. Is there a way we can have sex without a condom on a specific day and conceive while protecting her and the baby?

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


 Still Haven't Told My Fiancee I'm HIV Positive. What Should I Do?
I have been HIV positive since 2008, and currently have a high CD4 count with an undetectable viral load. I have fallen in love with a girl. We haven't had any unprotected sex, but we're getting married. I intend not to tell her about my status because I am afraid she will be shocked and stay away from me. Also, since I have an undetectable viral load, the chances of transmitting HIV are low. We really love each other. What do you advise?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the August 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Ahmed (From The Series Workers)," 2001
Richard Renaldi

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


 Can You Advise Between Starting on Atripla and Complera?
I have not started HIV medications yet but my CD4 count is 300 and my viral load is at 75,000 and rising. I worry about Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) because my friends tell me it causes nightmares and depression. Should I ask my doctor for Complera (rilpivirine/tenofovir/FTC) instead?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Can't Remember if I Took My Dose of Atripla Today: What Should I Do?
It's been five hours since I was supposed to have taken it. Should I skip the dose altogether or take it now? Is it safe to possibly double dose?

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


 Are Loose Stools and Yellow Semen Side Effects of my Medications?
For the past two months, I've been taking Reyataz (atazanavir), Norvir (ritonavir), Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC) and Retrovir (zidovudine, AZT). My CD4 count has been slowly improving. However, for the past three months now, I've frequently been having loose stools and have noticed that my semen is yellowish. Is this normal?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


HIV/AIDS, HEPATITIS & OTHER HEALTH ISSUES


 What Can I Do to Battle Depression?
I am an 18-year-old high school student. I have had suicidal thoughts in the past, but I feel like these HIV medications make it worse. My emotions change, I have some crazy dreams and so on. It sucks. Does it get better?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Coinfected With Hepatitis B and HIV: Am I at Risk for Liver Cancer?
I have been on hepatitis B and HIV treatment for five years now. Both viruses are under detection levels. But I'm worried because I heard that hepatitis B progresses 15 times faster than HIV, despite undetectable viral loads. Am I at risk for developing liver cancer?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis & Other Health Issues:


Connect With Others

Tell Me Your Thoughts on God and HIV
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

Before my diagnosis, I was a very spiritual person. Not religious, but spiritual. I found out my status on June 21st which apparently is St. Lazarus's feast day, who is often petitioned for the poor and sick (especially those with HIV/AIDS). And before finding out my own status, I had been praying to this saint for an HIV cure. I don't know if that's supposed to mean anything or if I'm just grasping at straws. Maybe I'm trying too hard to look for signs of God, when it could be just a coincidence. Anyway, I've learned that most HIVers are atheists. I was wondering if anyone here had some kind of religious or spiritual beliefs that were affected by HIV. -- PageofCups

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Are Slight Trending Increases in My Viral Load Early Signs of Resistance?
I am 57 years old and have been positive since 1990. My viral load has been virtually undetectable for almost five years. But since last May, my viral load has trended up from undetectable to 51, to 56 and now 65. I know these are very small increases, but could this mean I'm developing resistance to my current regimen?

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


More Questions About Understanding HIV/AIDS Labs:


HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING


 How Long After Exposure Does It Commonly Take to Test Positive?
Is it possible to seroconvert exactly one month after infection? I've commonly heard that once the virus enters the body it can take up to six months to detect.

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


 Lube and Ecstasy: How Do They Impact Having HIV?
My partner and I are both positive and we have been having unprotected sex. This may sound stupid, but does lube protect against reinfection? Also, we stay healthy by eating right, exercising and sleeping regularly, but occasionally we take ecstasy. Will it affect our lab numbers or interact with our HIV meds?

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



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