October 12, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Should HIV-Positive Individuals Come to Terms With Mortality?
I'm in shock and saddened at the loss of Dr. Bob, who was only 59. I looked up to long-term survivors like him. I've known at least five other positive individuals who died in the last couple years when they were just 50-60 years old. The causes ranged from heart attacks to liver failure. I just don't know how to process the uplifting claims that we will live a normal lifespan versus the people I've seen die way too young. I'm thankful that HIV meds give us more healthy years, but HIV may eventually win out. How are we supposed to cope with this?

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


 Is Juicing the Healthiest Way to Consume Fruit?
I am 28 years old, was diagnosed with HIV nine months ago, but not on any HIV meds yet. Recently, I bought a juicer, but I'm not sure what fruits and veggies my body will need more of. I am eager to get started. Is going on a juice fast a good idea?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 How Can I Get My Wife Pregnant Safely?
I am HIV positive and my wife is negative. We want to have a baby now. How can we minimize the risk of infecting my wife and baby? And are there programs in the New York area that can help us?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 All About Egrifta: Where'd It Come From, and How Can I Pay for It?
My insurance company refuses to pay for Egrifta (tesamorelin), even after my doctor wrote a letter. I have a lot of visceral fat (18-pound increase in weight since I started HIV treatment). What advice do you have on obtaining Egrifta and improving body composition in general?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Can I Use Sculptra to Prevent Facial Wasting?
Does Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) prevent facial lipoatrophy or is it only a treatment for when facial wasting has already begun? How do I know when or if to start treatment?

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


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the October 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Nervous System," 1997
Eric Rhein

Visit the October 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Stereopsis," is curated by Andrew Blackley.

HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Could Atripla Be Affecting My Sex Life?
Does Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) impede sexual function? Are sexual side effects common for others on this regimen?

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


 Which Tests Does Someone Need Before Starting Treatment?
I am 40 years old and was diagnosed in 2003. According to my most recent labs, taken back in November 2008, my CD4 count was 345 and my viral load was around 1,700. Now I'm thinking about starting treatment. Besides the regular CD4 and viral load tests, what other assessments should I consider before starting meds?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Have My Depression and Anxiety Meds Stopped Working?
I'm 58 years old and have been HIV positive since January of 2010. My HIV meds are Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and clinical depression in 1986. I started with Prozac (fluoxetine) and have been on numerous medications since then. Some helped for months or years before they lost their effectiveness, and others didn't help at all. I've been on my current GAD regimen for more than five years. This year has been horrible for my anxiety and depression. Is it time for a medication switch? What are the options out there for treating GAD?

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


 Will I Ever Be Able to Take Hepatitis C Treatment Without Interferon?
Several years ago I was treated for hepatitis C but was unable to tolerate the interferon portion of the treatment. Will there ever be a treatment regimen for hep C that doesn't include interferon?

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


Connect With Others

Don't You Get Angry When You Can't Get a Date?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I'm a 25-year-old man. I'm very upset because I'm looking for a nice woman who I can date. I have tried mixed-status relationships but it's hard. I want to date a woman with HIV. I know there are tons of us on this same boat, so why am I the only one who's angry? I have joined a few so-called HIV dating sites but they took money I didn't have and no one replied to me. Where are the resources for us to meet other HIV-positive people to date? Is there anyone out there for me? -- Normalguy

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What's the Difference Between "Undetectable" and "No Target Detected"?
Is there a difference between the terms "no target detected" and "undetectable" in regards to viral load testing? If so, can you please explain?

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


HIV & HEPATITIS C TRANSMISSION


 Can I Get Hepatitis C From Dried Blood on a Cocaine Straw?
The other night I snorted a line of cocaine at a house party. I used my own straw, but what if the bread knife I used to cut the straw with had dried blood on it and I just didn't notice? I have read that hepatitis C can live outside the body, so could there have been some risk of infection? How would I be able to tell?

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


 How Many Drops Does It Take to Transmit HIV?
If there is a small drop of blood on household items and we touch the items with an open wound, what is the risk of HIV? Does HIV survive long outside the body and has anyone ever been infected this way?

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



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