February 14, 2012
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Do Poz Folks Lose Fat or Build Muscle Differently?
Since being diagnosed HIV positive in 2006, my weight has pretty much stayed the same. I would like to get healthier by reducing my cholesterol levels while also losing some fat. As an HIV-positive guy, would my muscles respond differently to a weight-training regimen than an HIV-negative guy's? Can I reduce fat and build muscle without taking supplements?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Do I Have to Get My HIV Meds by Mail Order?
I used to get my HIV meds through a local pharmacy, but my insurance company sent me a letter requesting to change to a mail order system, which would only allow me to get 30 days' supply of my meds at a time. I ran out of meds for several days because of this when my first order was shipped with the right address but delivered to a neighbor by mistake. I'm really not adjusting well to these changes. Is there any action I can take to keep my local pharmacy as my supplier?

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


More Questions About Living With HIV/AIDS:


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 How Can I Help a Partner Who's Given Up on Himself?
I'm in a serodiscordant relationship with a partner who has been HIV positive for 10 years. He eats very healthily, which is good for his body, but he also has testicular cancer and is not taking HIV meds or taking care of his health. He's also an alcoholic and is having mental issues. What can I do to help him?

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


love and relationships, positive style

Word on the Street

Ah, love: It's exhilarating, it's fun, it's challenging, it's terrifying -- and it can be all the more so when you're living with HIV. In honor of Valentine's Day, we asked a wide range of people in our community -- HIVers and advocates, LGBT and straight, single and partnered -- for their thoughts on love, relationships, disclosure, dating, and where to look for that special someone.



HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 High Anxiety When I Take Meds: Am I Developing a Phobia?
I've been HIV positive for over 20 years now. I've had periods of depression and anxiety in that time and they've always subsided. I just started taking HIV meds in December 2008. My regimen, Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), worked wonderfully. A few weeks ago, I went to bed so dizzy and buzzing from the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) in Atripla that I had a full-out panic attack. Since that night I've been terrified to take my meds. I've even switched regimens, but I still feel anxious about side effects. I can't become phobic of taking these drugs because I need them to stay alive. What can I do?

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


 Do HIV Meds Treat the Common Cold?
My little brother is undergoing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) treatment at the moment. He started the course of PEP 48 hours after a risky encounter with a guy who ended up testing HIV positive. He's suffering from a mild cold and of course he thinks the worst. I doubt the symptoms have anything to do with HIV, but even if not, how could a rhinovirus survive antiviral medication?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 HIV and Crohn's Disease: Will My Meds Interact?
I was recent diagnosed with HIV and I also have Crohn's disease. I currently take Pentasa (mesalamine) for Crohn's every day, and I just started HIV meds with Complera (rilpivirine/tenofovir/FTC). My doctors told me I should be fine taking the two, but that there aren't really any data about those two meds taken together. Do you have any info or advice about this?

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


 Getting Pregnant With HIV and Hepatitis B: What Do We Need to Know?
I am HIV and hepatitis B (hep B) positive. My HIV viral load has been undetectable since 2009 and my hep B viral load hovers around 600 copies, down from 500 million. My CD4 count is in the high 700s and was never lower than 560. I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) to control both. My spouse is negative for both viruses with a strong hep B titer. We're thinking of conceiving a child and want to carefully evaluate the risk. Most doctors seem unwilling to touch this subject in detail. Are you familiar with circumstances similar to ours?

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


 Are My HIV Meds Affecting My Beard?
I'm a 29-year-old man and I was diagnosed with HIV in July 2011. I immediately started taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). About a month ago I noticed a patch of skin where my otherwise full beard used to be. Since then it's only become worse, to the point that people are asking me what happened to my beard. Could this symptom be caused by my HIV meds?

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


Connect With Others

Will I Be Alone Forever?
(A recent post from the "Women" board)

It has been a few years since I visited here. I thought everything was going OK, but I guess not. The man I was dating when I found out my HIV status is still "with" me, if you can call it that. We have gotten in a few fights and he says he risks his life being with me, and he is right. We have completely lost our emotional connection, and I feel so very alone.

I swear, sometimes I really wish I hadn't gotten tested ... does anybody else ever feel that way, or am I crazy? Does my HIV status mean I'm going to be alone forever? -- madctygurl

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What's the Difference Between Vaccines?
What is the difference between a therapeutic vaccine and a preventive vaccine for HIV? Do you think drug companies will stop producing current HIV meds if some kind of vaccine becomes available?

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


HIV & HEPATITIS C TRANSMISSION


 Two Kinds of Oral Play: What's the Risk?
What are the risks associated with rimming (licking a partner's anus), whether you're on the giving or the receiving end? What about giving oral sex to a man, with pre-cum but no ejaculation? I've read so many conflicting answers. Can you clarify?

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


 Can Hepatitis C Be Transmitted Through Lesbian Sex?
I'm a woman in a relationship with another woman and I have hepatitis C. Can I pass the virus to my partner sexually?

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





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