November 8, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Why Do I Feel Sick After I Exercise?
My CD4 count is around 500 and my viral load is undetectable. I recently started working out, something I've wanted to do for a long time. However, each time I work out I feel as though I have the flu the next day -- the kind of full-body ache you feel when you have a temperature and are sick (though I don't get a fever at these times). My doctor thinks I'm simply sore from the workout, but I know my body well enough to tell the difference between workout soreness and a feeling of illness. What do you think could be the problem?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 No Transmission for a Decade: Why Should My Partner and I Use Condoms?
I'm HIV positive, and my wife and I have been having unprotected sex for just over 10 years now. At the time we started having sex, my viral load was very high. Since then we've had two HIV-negative children ages 9 and 5. All this time my wife has tested HIV negative. Why should we worry about protection, particularly since my viral load is undetectable and at some stage she was exposed to a very high viral load without becoming HIV positive? Should we take this as an indication that my wife is resistant to HIV?

Richard Cordova responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Can a Buffalo Hump Cause Additional Health Problems?
My mother takes Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC) Viramune (nevirapine) and Zerit (stavudine, d4T). In the past two months she's suddenly developed a swell on the back of her neck, and she's had some pain in it. Doctors say she needs surgery to remove the hump. Are there any other options that don't involve surgery? Could this hump cause further health complications?

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


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the November 2011 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Red Lulu," 2006
David Faulk

Visit the November 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "i am anyone," is curated by Anthony Allen.

HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 How Does Isentress Compare to Sustiva in Sleep Effects?
I've been on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) since February. My most recent CD4 count is 324 and my viral load is undetectable. However, the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) in Atripla has given me insomnia and I'm considering a switch to Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Does this seem like a safe move? How does Isentress measure up to Sustiva in terms of sleep-related side effects?

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


 Why Does Hypersensitivity to an HIV Drug Matter if I'm Not on That Drug?
I've been HIV positive since 1999, and I learned early on through a clinical study that I have the HLA-B*5701 gene that indicates hypersensitivity to Ziagen (abacavir). I know that this gene has been associated with slower progression of HIV, but I haven't found any treatment guidelines describing the benefits of having this gene. What, if any, are the benefits of having the HLA-B*5701 gene? Are there any other meds I need to avoid?

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


 Will the New Hepatitis C Meds Be Easier on a Coinfected Person's Body?
Are the new hepatitis C drugs easier on the body -- and the mind -- than the usual medications, especially for an HIV-positive person? What side effects can a person on one of these meds expect?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 What Can I Do About a Tired Brain?
I'm 49 years old and I've been HIV positive for 13 years. I exercise a few days a week and get plenty of rest at night. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 560. I take Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). In the past several years it's been like my brain is tired. I can't remember things, and it's hard to concentrate and think. I began noticing this about seven years ago, but it only happened occasionally. Now it happens all the time, and it's scaring me. I need my brain for a demanding job. Could HIV, or my meds, be affecting my brain? Do you have any suggestions for lessening these effects?

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


 What's the Difference Between Serum and Free Testosterone?
What are the differences between different testosterone measures my doctor uses? How does testosterone move through the body anyway?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


More Questions About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:


Connect With Others

Help Out a Fellow HIVer! Take a Survey as Part of a Project on HIV Disclosure
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I know firsthand how difficult life is with HIV. I was diagnosed in 2004, on Valentine's Day of all days, and I have since decided to focus my studies on how HIV is communicated to the individual and the public, and the effects of these communications. I'm currently working on my master's thesis and humbly request 10 minutes of your time to fill out the survey that will be the basis of my thesis. -- Dolbylife

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Why Is My Viral Load Higher Than the Person's Who Infected Me?
I know who I got HIV from, but my viral load is much higher than that person's. How is this possible?

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


HIV & HEPATITIS C TESTING


 Could Syphilis Antibodies Have Caused a False-Positive HIV Test?
A couple of months ago I went to an HIV testing site in my community and had an OraQuick test and a Western blot done. Both tests came back positive. Last week I had an appointment to have lab tests done and possibly start HIV meds if needed, and I found out I have syphilis! I also found out that my CD4 count was 441. Could syphilis have caused this drop in my CD4 count? Could syphilis antibodies have been misinterpreted as HIV antibodies?

Richard Cordova responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum


 What's the Hepatitis C Testing "Window Period"?
I've read that people often test negative for hepatitis C (as well as HIV, for that matter) inside the window period, even if they've been infected, because their bodies have not yet developed sufficient antibodies against the virus. If a hepatitis C antibody test at six months past exposure comes back negative, is there a possibility that that person could still become hepatitis C positive later on?

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



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