January 31, 2012
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Could Exercise Cause Excessive Inflammation?
I do two heavy trainings and two light trainings at the gym each week, and I play golf on the weekends. I also have a viral load of 300 and a CD4 count of 1,340, though I don't take HIV meds yet. My doctor is worried that my gym sessions and related fat burn will cause unnecessary inflammation, and encourages me to exchange my gym sessions for just swimming or walking. I'm a little confused about my doctor's advice. What do you know about exercise and inflammation?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 How Do I Tell My Loved Ones I'm HIV Positive?
I was just diagnosed, and I haven't told anyone. I was diagnosed within four months of exposure and I'm in good shape, with good insurance and a good job. Things seem in my favor as much as they can be. My biggest stressor is the thought of telling my family, who all live out of state. I'm the "rock" who always helps them, and I can't imagine delivering news that will devastate them. At the same time I feel not telling is a betrayal. Right now they help me without knowing because when I talk to them it's the only time I'm not thinking about this disease. Once they know I fear I'll have no escape. Do you have any advice?

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


 Do I Have to Go on Medicare When I Reach 65?
I'm 59 years old. In six years my company's insurance will drop me because my company requires I go on Medicare when I'm 65. Is this legal? My excellent HIV doctor doesn't take Medicare. I'm already anxious. What can I do to prepare for this?

Jacques Chambers, C.L.U., responds in the "Workplace and Insurance Issues" forum


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the January 2012 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Sheer Gucci Underwear," 1998
Edurado Mirales

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


 What Diet Do You Suggest to Slow Weight Gain?
I'm on Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and I've been gaining weight around my belly. Can you recommend an eating plan that might help reduce this fattening?

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


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Can I Go Off Meds to See if My Virus Is Gone?
I'm 54 years old. I've been HIV positive for 18 years and I've been taking HIV meds since I seroconverted. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 602. I want to do some sort of test to see whether HIV is lying dormant anywhere in my body, and if it can't be found I want to stop taking HIV meds for a while -- not because of any health issues or side effects, but because I dislike taking them. Do you have any experience with people who have tried something like this? What effect could going off meds have on my sex life with my partner, who's HIV negative?

David Wohl, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum


 Will My HIV Regimen Still Work After a 2-Month Break?
I had a hysterectomy in November 2011. I was so sick I couldn't take my HIV meds for two months. Now that I'm better, will my HIV meds still be effective or should I change medications?

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


 Do I Have to Start HIV Meds if I'm Treating My Hepatitis C?
I'm HIV positive but not on meds. My viral load is low and my CD4 count is above 500. I was diagnosed with hepatitis C and it seems I'll be starting meds for that. My doc mentioned briefly that I should start HIV meds as well, but I feel that treating hep C first is the way to go. Am I correct not to want to start HIV meds while I'm still doing well HIV-wise?

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


Connect With Others

How Can I Stay Healthy Before I Start HIV Meds?
(A recent post from the "Treatment & Side Effects" board)

I got my first labs in today: My CD4 count is 1,040 and my viral load is 9,095. Not considering HIV meds right now. I will evaluate after my next test in three months. However I was wondering what I can do NOW to prepare my body. One of my big concerns is the damage all of the unnatural chemicals in the meds will do to my body. Any advice? What can I do or take -- herbs, etc. -- to offset that before I start? What have others out there done? -- TheGoodLife

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OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 What if Surgeons Won't Operate on Me Because I'm HIV Positive?
I was given an AIDS diagnosis six years ago. I've started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), and having good results. My CD4 count is 364 and my viral load is undetectable (up from less than 50, and down from 260,000, when I began). I've now been diagnosed with avascular necrosis in both hips, and urgently need a hip replacement on one of them. I've been to two orthopedic surgeons who've refused to take my case, and it's obvious from what they both said that it's because neither of them wants an HIV-positive patient. I know this is not legal, and I wouldn't want a doctor who was prejudiced against me anyway. But how can I find the help I need without going through this discriminatory process over and over again?

Jacques Chambers, C.L.U., responds in the "Workplace and Insurance Issues" forum


 Do Immunizations Patch the "Holes" in Our Immune Systems Left by HIV?
I've been HIV positive for over 24 years. A long time ago, my doc told me that upon initial infection with HIV, it pokes "holes" in your immune system that are presumably permanent. He used an analogy like: if you remove the letter Z from the alphabet, you can't spell "zebra" any longer, but you can still describe it. If this "hole" theory is correct, are immunizations the thing to make up for these vulnerabilities?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION


 HIV Transmission Through Sharing a Crack Pipe: What's the Risk?
I have never smoked crack before but one night, when I was very depressed, I was looking for cocaine and could only find crack, so I shared a pipe or two. I didn't have any open cuts in the beginning or end of the night, but when I woke up, I saw dried blood on my lip. What are the chances that I contracted HIV from the pipe? What other kinds of HIV risks come with smoking crack?

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


 Could My Lesbian Partner Have Put Me at Risk for HIV?
I am a lesbian and have been dating a close female friend for a few months. Recently it came to light that she has never been HIV tested before, as she for some reason thought it was part of routine blood tests. She had unprotected vaginal and anal sex one time with a man she met at a bar back in 2008. He did not ejaculate inside of her. I'm concerned that she may have been exposed to HIV during her one-night stand because he obviously didn't care about using condoms. Could she be HIV positive, and could I have been exposed to HIV through her vaginal fluids coming into contact with small cuts on my lips when I perform oral sex on her?

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





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