January 4, 2012
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OUR NEWEST SAFE SEX AND HIV PREVENTION FORUM EXPERT


 Medical Care Manager Shannon Southall Joins TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" Forums
Please join us in welcoming Shannon R. Southall as our newest expert in the Safe Sex and HIV Prevention forum. A longtime HIV/AIDS advocate and leader, Shannon currently works as a medical care manager at Rocky Mountain CARES, a Denver nonprofit organization. She is a wife and a stepmom to two boys, and has been living with HIV since 1992. With all her experience, knowledge and wisdom, we're glad to add her voice and perspective to the growing team of experts in this forum.


RECENTLY DIAGNOSED WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Do I Live With Constant Worry?
I'm a 46-year-old gay man and I was diagnosed with HIV a year ago. I take Complera (rilpivirine/tenofovir/FTC) and I haven't felt ill with anything HIV-related since the flu-like symptoms I had after infection. However, anytime I feel I might be coming down with anything, I fear the worst, which is a horrible way to live. How can I cope with this?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 What Does My Future Hold?
I was recently infected and diagnosed with HIV. I'm planning to check my CD4 count soon and start taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) if it's below 550 because I've heard that if people start HIV meds with a higher CD4 count, they have a better chance of living longer. I'm becoming madder day by day, because I want to live. Can I? What does my future look like if it turns out I was diagnosed at a fairly early stage?

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


 Which Lab Tests Should I Be Getting?
I was just diagnosed with HIV through a local HIV outreach group. It will be two more weeks before I see a specialist. I was exposed less than six months ago, but I'm reading stories of viral loads being high even for those who are newly infected. The wait to see a doctor is making me tremendously anxious as I imagine my numbers skyrocketing each day. Can you help me understand the kinds of tests I should get when I finally see the HIV specialist for the first time?

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


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Should I Look to Marry Someone Who's Also Poz?
I recently advised my HIV-negative girlfriend to leave me since I tested HIV positive. We were just about to get married, but I told her to find a healthy person to marry and not put herself at risk with me. I hope she agrees with me. I'm so afraid of isolation and stigma, and of not finding anyone to love. Should I set my sights on finding someone HIV positive to marry?

Shannon R. Southall responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the January 2012 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Untitled (Keith Haring)," 1985-1988
Juan Rivera

Visit the January 2012 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry," is curated by Stuart Sandford.

BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Switching Meds or Sheep Placenta: Which Is Best for My Lipoatrophy?
I'm an HIV-positive man in my 40s and I've been taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) since 2003. My CD4 count ranges from 600 to 850 and my viral load is undetectable. I'm experiencing facing lipoatrophy -- my face has that sharp, thin look. I've been taking sheep placenta supplements daily for several weeks to slow the effects of facial wasting. Do you think this will help? Could switching meds be another option?

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


HIV/AIDS & HEPATITIS C TREATMENT


 What Do You Know About Telaprevir for Hepatitis C?
I'm a 53-year-old non-smoking woman with no other health issues besides hepatitis C. Do you know of any studies or reports about the newly approved hepatitis C drug Incivek (telaprevir)? My doctor told me that, taken in combination with Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) and ribavirin, there's an excellent chance for me to get rid of the hepatitis C virus. What do you know about this course of treatment?

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


 Can I Crush Atripla Before I Take It?
I have oral candidiasis and can't swallow my Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) pill, so my doctor told me to crush it in order to take it. Am I'm still getting the necessary dosage by taking the medication in this way?

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


Connect With Others

What NOT to Take With HIV Meds?
(A recent post from the "Nutrition, Exercise & HIV" board)

We always hear about what to do for our health, but how many know what NOT to do while on HIV treatment? I don't mean the obvious stuff such as sex and drugs, but things like grapefruit juice. Did you know that it is a BIG no-no when taking some HIV meds? How about milk thistle? It's great for hep C livers but again, it's a no-no with HIV meds.

Be careful with your herbal supplements! Is anyone else aware of any foods, supplements or herbs that we should be particularly careful of? -- riverprincess

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OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 What Do HIVers Need to Know About Bone Health?
I'm a 61-year-old woman who has just been diagnosed with osteoporosis. I've been taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for about a year and a half, and prior to that I took Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Viramune (nevirapine) for about 10 years. Are treatments for osteoporosis safe to take with my HIV meds? What else is there to know about bone health and HIV?

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


 What's the Skinny on Other STDs?
Can you tell me the different testing window periods for various sexually transmitted diseases? What about the kinds of tests that detect each of them?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION


 Could Banana Lectin Prevent HIV Transmission?
I recently read an article that suggested that a substance found in bananas could potentially block HIV from attaching to CD4 cells. Can you explain this study to us? Based on the results of this study, can I assume that eating a lot of bananas would increase one's CD4 count?

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





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