November 1, 2011
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 HIV Educator Richard Cordova III Joins's "Ask the Experts" Forums
Richard Cordova IIIWe were all stunned and saddened by the loss of Dr. Bob back in September. He is truly irreplaceable, and his commitment to our community lives on in the thousands of question responses that can still be found in the archives of this forum. But thousands of you turn to this forum each month with important new questions about safer sex, HIV prevention and possible HIV exposures, and you deserve highly skilled, experienced people who can answer those questions knowledgeably.

To that end, please join us in welcoming Richard Cordova III as our first new expert in the Safe Sex and HIV Prevention forum! In addition to blogging for for more than a year, Richard is also a staffer at Test Positive Aware Network, Chicago's premier peer-led HIV service organization. He brings a wealth of experience, empathy and insight to his responses. We're confident he'll be an outstanding addition to what will be a team of experts in this forum going forward.


 How Can I Figure Out My Life Expectancy?
I keep reading what the life expectancy is for a 20-year-old diagnosed with HIV today, but would like to know what mine might be on average. I'm 50 years old and I seroconverted four years ago. I began HIV meds with a CD4 count of 550. I take Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and my viral load is undetectable. I exercise a bit and eat reasonably healthily. Is there any way to calculate, statistically, how long I might live?

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


 Is It OK to Get Dental X-Rays With Facial Fillers?
Could panoramic X-rays of my dental work degrade the Bio-Alcamid (poly-Alkyl-Imide) capsules in my cheeks? If the capsules appear on the film, would they keep my dentist from seeing what's going on with my teeth?

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


 How Can My HIV-Positive Wife and I Have an HIV-Negative Baby?
My partner works in the medical field and had an occupational exposure to HIV; in September 2011 she tested HIV positive. We talked about it openly and immediately started having protected sex. I love her so much, and our wedding is in February 2012. Our firstborn child is 4 years old; we'd like to have another in the next few years. How can we do that while keeping the baby, and me, HIV negative?

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

keeping up with your hiv meds

pillboxNobody wants his or her HIV treatment to stop working. And it's easy for someone to tell you, "Just take all your meds, and you'll be fine." But the challenge of taking antiretroviral therapy every single day, and the obstacles that life throws in your way, can make adherence a lot tougher in real life than it might seem on paper.

This is why we've created our Resource Center on Keeping Up With Your HIV Meds. It features:

In addition, our new resource center contains loads of information and advice that will help ensure your dance with HIV treatment is as flawless as possible.


 Would It Be Better to Take My Meds Twice a Day?
I've been on the combo of Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for a year now. It seems to work -- my viral load has been under 20 copies for 11 months, and I have 537 T cells. I take all three pills at once, but lately I've been reading that I should take the Isentress dose at two different times of the day. What's the difference?

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

 Are the New Hepatitis C Meds Not Approved for My Form of the Virus?
I get my health care through the Veterans Affairs (VA) system. I was told I can't try the new hepatitis C therapies because they're not approved for genotype 2b infection, the kind with which I'm coinfected. Are they telling me the truth? If so, what are my other treatment options?

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

 My Side Effects Are Back: What Are My Options?
I started taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) about five weeks ago. In the first week I experienced the usual side effects of giddiness, bad moods and the feeling of being "stoned" in the mornings. It gradually got better over the next few weeks. However, these side effects now seem to have come back, and worse than when I first started taking the meds. I feel very perturbed as this is affecting my quality of life and productivity at work. Should I wait it out for another month to see if it gets better, or talk to my doctor about changing meds?

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


 What Are the Risks of Binge Drinking?
I'm 35 and I've been HIV positive since July 2007 (not taking HIV meds). Lately I'm finding it takes a lot longer to recover from my binge-drinking sessions, which sometimes last into the morning (hello, 6 a.m.!). I feel body aches and pains for days -- in particular around the back of my neck and my chest region. Is this simply a hangover, or something more sinister?

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

Connect With Others

How Can I Be Even More Supportive of My Poz Sibling?
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

My youngest brother and my mother have both been HIV + for over 18 years. My mother is very active in our local HIV/AIDS community, as I am; however my brother is not. In fact the only person other than himself he really knows who's HIV+ is my mother. He's going through a HUGE changing period with college next fall, dating, sports, and really coming into his full understanding about the virus. He's struggling ... Any ideas on how I can help him through this time? And/or help him reach out to other youth living with HIV? -- ellaroo1

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

To do this, you'll need to register with'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!


 How Do I Measure My Kidney Health?
My last lab result shows kidney impairment, but I'm not sure how to interpret the numbers. What measures are used to track kidney health, anyway? Based on these results, should I be thinking about switching off the Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) in my regimen?

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


 What Kinds of Tests Are Available for Hepatitis C?
If a person is exposed to hepatitis C, what kinds of tests are likely to be performed on them?

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

 PEP Giving Me the Squirts: Am I Absorbing the Meds?
I am currently taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) for a highly likely exposure to HIV. One of these two meds gives me a serious case of diarrhea about an hour after taking them. I'm not that "inconvenienced" by these cases of the squirts, but I'm worried they're causing the meds to not be absorbed into my bloodstream. Should I continue to worry? Is there anything I can do to keep the diarrhea under control?

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

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