December 13, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Should HIVers Get Our Vitamins?
Should people living with HIV take vitamin supplements? What other ways are there to take in micronutrients and strengthen our immune systems?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Does Everyone Progress to AIDS?
I'm HIV positive and 33 years old. I'm on HIV meds, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 405. I'm a little scared about one day receiving an AIDS diagnosis. Does it eventually happen to everyone?

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


More Questions About Living With HIV/AIDS:


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Is There Counseling Out There for the HIV-Negative Partner?
My partner of five years just found out two months ago that he's HIV positive. He has group counseling available to him to help him cope, but there doesn't seem to be any specific counseling for people in my situation. Do you have any ideas?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Newly Diagnosed: Which Meds Should I Choose to Avoid Lipoatrophy?
I recently got a positive HIV test result, and I'm already contemplating starting treatment though I haven't even had my CD4 count and viral load tests done. Which HIV med combinations are least likely to cause facial lipoatrophy? Would my doctor determine my HIV med regimen or do I get a say in it?

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


strangest but truest of 2011: the best of dr. bob

Dr. Bob FrascinoAround this time each year, we scour our "Ask the Experts" forums and nominate 10 posts we feel are the "best of the worst" -- some of the oddest questions we've seen people ask about HIV that year. As avid readers of TheBody.com are well aware, Bob Frascino, M.D., reigning master of the "Strange but True" question response, passed away suddenly on Sept. 17, 2011 -- a loss we'll feel for as long as feelings exist.

To honor his intelligent, rambunctious, compassionate spirit, our "Strangest but Truest" collection this year is a tribute to him. The 10 posts to vote on include six new questions answered by Dr. Bob in 2011 (give or take a few weeks) and four old favorites -- "Strangest but Truest" winners from each of the past four years. We invite you to read them all, and then vote for which posts represent the zaniest of what the forums have to offer -- the "Best of Dr. Bob."



HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Was My Virus Already Resistant?
I was recently diagnosed with HIV; my last negative test was eight months before. I can't take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) because my virus is already resistant to a component of it. My viral load is 150,000 and my CD4 count is 312, so I'll soon start taking Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Did I get the virus with the resistance already present, meaning I was infected by somebody who was taking HIV meds? Could the virus have mutated after I was infected?

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


 When in My Pregnancy Should I Switch Off Atripla?
How soon I have to stop taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) when I'm pregnant? Can I keep taking it through my first trimester without worrying about hurting the fetus?

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


 Why Won't My Rash Go Away?
I switched to taking Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) after having liver inflammation and rash for six weeks on my first regimen, Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). The rash vanished after only three days off Atripla, but on my 12th day on the new combo, the rash started to come out again. What do you think could be causing it this time?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Depression and High Hepatitis C Viral Load: Should I Start Meds for Hep C?
I'm 66 years old, diabetic and hypertensive. I also suffer from clinical depression. Three years ago I was diagnosed with hepatitis C. My liver enzymes are not so high, but my hepatitis C viral load is 2.3 million. Doctors have recommended that I not take the standard hepatitis C treatment because of my depression. What should I do next?

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


 What Do You Know About Cognitive Decline in HIV-Positive Children?
I have a beautiful 8-year-old son with an AIDS diagnosis. Right now he's got an undetectable viral load and a high CD4 count. In the past year we've noticed a significant change; everyone that's known my son for a long period of time agrees he's declining, and he notices changes as well. The organization of his thoughts, his communication and his social interaction have changed dramatically. He's doing bizarre (and dangerous) things. I don't think his doctors have much experience dealing with HIV-positive children. His psychologist diagnosed him with ADHD, but I don't think it's that. Is there anything else we can do?

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


Connect With Others

Will I Ever Be Able to Find Love Now That I'm HIV Positive?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

Just days after my birthday I got the huge bomb from Doc that I'm HIV positive. I can't talk to anyone where I live, and there's so much stigma. I'm terrified to let my gay friends know -- I'm sure they will avoid me, and word will spread like wildfire in the gay circle.

I've been single for nine years and unable to find someone who will love me for who I am. And now with this in me, it will be even harder. Has anyone else ever felt like this? I could really use some advice. -- NorthLander

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Are CD8 Cells "Natural Killer" Cells?
I've been HIV positive for the past seven years and over time I've seen a steady increase in my CD8 cell levels. My CD8 count is currently at 1,125 and my percentage is 42. Is CD8 considered a "natural killer" cell; and if so, could my rising numbers be behind my repeated miscarriages?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION


 When Should I Test for HIV and STDs After a Rape?
I was raped a month and a half ago. I went to the hospital two days later and had a rapid HIV test done, which came back negative. Should I be retested for HIV, and tested for other sexually transmitted diseases? If so, when?

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


Voting for the "Strangest but Truest Posts of 2011 -- Best of Dr. Bob Edition" will be open for the next two weeks. Don't forget to vote!





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