September 27, 2011
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LOSING DR. BOB: HIS FELLOW EXPERTS RESPOND


Dr. Bob FrascinoThe community on TheBody.com, and the HIV/AIDS community in general, have responded with inspiring outpourings of emotion at the passing of longtime HIV advocate and forum expert Bob Frascino, M.D., on Sept. 17. Since then, experts in our forums have answered some challenging questions raised by Dr. Bob's death -- and shared how they themselves grapple with grief. A sampling of those questions and responses appears below.


 Dear Nelson Vergel: What Is the Meaning of This?
Just learned of Dr. Bob's passing and I am devastated. I read his answers and your answers daily for a source of strength of knowing that you were both still here. I do not know how to get that strength now. Dr. Bob wanted to "be here for the cure"; now that whole idea seems like a cosmic joke. How could he have been answering questions one day and then be dead the next? I feel like this life has no meaning.

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 How Do You Cope, As a Long-Term HIV Survivor?
I just read of Dr. Bob's passing and I think I'm going to freak out. I'm back to feeling like there is no hope and this is a death sentence. When tragedies like this strike in our community, how do you get your mind around them?

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


 What's Bacterial Sepsis?
I am devastated by the loss of Dr. Bob. Now I am full of fear all over again. Can you explain what bacterial sepsis is? Should HIV-positive people be especially worried about it?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 What Are Some Alternatives to Megace for Weight Gain?
Is there a drug or supplement like Megace (megestrol) that I can take for weight gain that can be purchased over the counter? Why shouldn't I take Megace in the first place?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the September 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Two-Spirit Girl (Back)," 2001
Mooshka

Visit the September 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Making Do," is curated by David Getsy.

HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Atripla to Isentress and Truvada: What to Try Before Considering a Switch?
My partner has been on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) awhile and has mostly tolerated it well. However, he wonders if he should switch to Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) due to some trouble falling asleep at night. Should he do something like change his dose times first, or just go ahead with the med switch?

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


 Can I Take My Old Regimen Until I Can Get a Refill of My New Meds?
I'm a 29-year-old man and I've been HIV positive for two years. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 percentage is less than 18. I was on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) when I first started HIV meds, but because of side effects I switched to a regimen that includes Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Reyataz (atazanavir). It has been fabulous for me -- but today I ran out of meds. My doc is on vacation and I have no way of getting them. Should I take my old Atripla for two days until I can get my regular meds on Monday morning?

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


 What Should Men Over 60 Be Aware of When Taking Testosterone?
I was on antidepressants and anxiety meds. My doctor checked my testosterone level and found that it was low, so I started testosterone replacement therapy. Now my depression is gone, I've gained muscle and lost fat, and at 68 years of age I've got woodies (erections) galore! I'm feeling much better and not having any negative effects. Is there anything I should keep in mind when taking testosterone, as a man over 60 and a type 2 diabetic?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Should I Keep Taking Valium for Chronic Anxiety?
I was diagnosed with severe depression and general anxiety disorder three years ago. I just found out I'm HIV positive this past August 8 and know I was infected two years ago, though my virus has not progressed. My doctor told me I need to see a psychiatrist and get my depression and anxiety under control or it could have a negative effect on my HIV health. I've been taking Celexa (citalopram) for depression, as well as Valium (diazepam), for over a year and a half. While Valium is still helping my anxiety, Celexa no longer works for me. Would staying on Valium and switching antidepressants be safe for me?

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


 Can I Start a Family With Hepatitis C?
I'm a 27-year-old male and I just found out I have hepatitis C. The only thing that has ever really mattered to me is the hope that one day I would have a daughter and son of my own. Is it possible for me to have my own children without infecting either the babies or their mother?

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


Connect With Others

Is HIV Multiplying in My Blood?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I was diagnosed with HIV in November 2010. Right before testing positive, I was experiencing night sweats. Now I'm starting to have night sweats again. Does this mean the virus is multiplying in my blood? Has anyone else experienced this symptom? -- Still_here76

Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an e-mail address) -- click here to get started!



UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Where's the Majority of My Virus?
I'm newly diagnosed HIV positive, seven weeks into treatment and with fingers crossed on the road to undetectable status. I understand that only 2 percent of the virus is in the blood. Where is the other 98 percent? Also, if the virus is undetectable in your blood, how is the assumption made that it's not undetectable in these other places?

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


STD TRANSMISSION


 Could I Have Gonorrhea of the Throat?
I've gotten two blowjobs recently. I know the chance of getting HIV from a blowjob is very small. Several weeks after the last blowjob I got tested for all sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV. All tests came back negative. But last Friday I got a call from the woman who blew me, saying she has gonorrhea in her throat. I know that she hooked up again with her ex-boyfriend. But what if she already had gonorrhea in her throat when she gave me those blowjobs? Could I have it too, even if I tested negative after my last contact?

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



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