November 29, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Which Nutritional Products Have Been Researched in HIVers?
What are some popular vitamin and nutritional supplements, and their potential benefits for people living with HIV/AIDS or taking HIV meds? How much do such products tend to cost, and when should they be taken relative to HIV meds?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 What's HIV Status Got to Do With Cheating?
My partner and I had been in love for almost three years, and it was all good -- until I discovered that he cheated on me in the beginning of our relationship. He took full responsibility for his actions; we both cried all night and are now trying to cope with this. I'm trying to stand by him and support him, though I am very hurt and don't want to be in that situation again. Do you think the fact that he's HIV positive has something to do with his cheating?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Is Sculptra Patient Assistance Available to Medicare Recipients?
In July 2010 I was able to get a local cosmetic surgeon to give me a single session of Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) injections as an "experiment" to see if Medicare would pay enough for him to be able to offer the service to other patients -- and complete my treatment. When he was finally paid after seven months, the amount did not even cover the price of the material, much less office expenses. As a result, he will not accept Medicare coverage for the procedure. Are Medicare recipients still eligible for Sculptra's patient assistance program?

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


what can you DO on world AIDS day?

There's so much that can be done to prevent HIV, raise HIV awareness, and lessen the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV. Here's just a sampling from TheBody.com's collection of ideas for things to do on and around World AIDS Day 2011:

HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Switching to Twice-Daily Isentress: Was Once-Daily a Bad Idea to Begin With?
I've been taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for the past 18 months with great results: My viral load is undetectable, my CD4 count is 500 and I've had no side effects. I was taking both Isentress pills once a day instead of the recommended twice-daily dosage. Now that there are study results recommending that people taking once-daily dosing switch to twice-daily, I'd like to switch as well. How do I go about making this change? Do you think my HIV doctor was wrong to suggest that I take the once-daily dose before all study results were in?

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


 What Could Be Causing My Fatigue?
I tested HIV positive in June and started taking Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) right away. I've had no side effects other than fatigue, which is accompanied by muscle and bone ache. What do you think is causing this? Should I start testosterone injections, even if my testosterone levels are normal?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Can I Take My Atripla With Dinner?
Why aren't people supposed to take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) with food, anyway? Can I do so if I don't experience side effects?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 What's the Latest on Cognitive Impairment in HIVers?
My boyfriend has been HIV positive for four years and had an undetectable viral load for about the same time period. However, his memory appears to be failing and he's only in his mid-30s. He has undergone testing but was told the tests didn't pick anything up because they're meant to detect more drastic changes than he's experiencing. This doesn't make his experience any less distressing. Can you point me to the latest and most interesting published studies, clinical trials or other resources on this matter?

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


 Are My Meds Keeping Me From Achieving Erection?
I was diagnosed with HIV a year and a half ago and have not had sex since then. I haven't been able to get an erection. Is it because of my HIV meds? Which erectile dysfunction drugs can be taken with HIV meds? What else can I do to get to the bottom of this issue?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Have You Ever Seen an HIVer Lose His Brows and Lashes?
I was diagnosed with HIV in March 2010. Since then my eyebrows and eyelashes have fallen out. I just started taking HIV meds last week. What could be causing this effect?

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


Connect With Others

How Do You Tell New Partners That You Have Several STDs?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I was diagnosed HIV positive Dec. 21, 2010. ... I've just started dating again and met someone who is also positive, and we seem to have quite the sparks flying between one another. ... I have been dealing with syphilis for quite some time now. ... It's slowly getting better, but as of today I was told that I also have genital herpes.

I understand that most of you are probably thinking "oh my god, a giant bag of STDs!" ... I made a very big mistake near the end of last year and got mixed up with crystal meth which led to a lot of unsafe behaviors. ... I feel like now, not only do I have to come out to people as HIV positive but also as a herpes carrier. I know people can look past one ... but two things?

I'd really appreciate thoughts from anyone, good words, advice or other people's experiences that are similar to mine -- how did you cope? -- juju2089

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Sudden Jump in Viral Load: Are Steroids the Culprits?
I've been on Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) for seven years. For the past six and a half years my viral load has been undetectable and my CD4 count has ranged from 500 to 1,000. My most recent labs showed a viral load of 45,000. I've only missed about 10 doses in all these years, and only one at a time. The only odd thing I can think of is that I was on the steroid Medrol (methylprednisolone) for a week, as well as a 30-day course of some other meds, for a herniated disc. Could there have been some drug interaction?

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


HIV & HEPATITIS C TRANSMISSION


 Oral Sex and Deep Kissing With a Poz Partner: Should I Be Worried?
I made out (deep kissing) and received oral sex from a guy. I don't believe I had any sores or cuts in my mouth or on my penis, nor do I think he did (though I didn't have any contact with his penis). He told me two days later that he's HIV positive. Based on my situation and what I've researched, it seems my risk of infection is low -- more theoretical risks than probable ones. However, I am still worrying and bothered by this. Can you lend some reassurance?

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


 How Do You Acquire Hepatitis C From Anal Play?
How exactly does one come in contact with hepatitis C through anal sex? Is it only if semen enters through the anus, or are there other possible entry points?

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



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