May 22, 2012
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Living With HIV

 Dear Nelson: How Did You Cope When You Were Losing Hope?
I've been HIV positive for 16 years. I was hospitalized with meningitis in 2005 and have been on disability since then. I had a great career but now I just feel like a bum. I'm worn out even after a few minutes of exercise, which I continue to do daily. My life has no purpose anymore. My credit, my two homes and just about everything else is gone. My wife of 14 years can tell I'm giving up; my 9-year-old son doesn't know what's going on. I don't feel anything anymore; I think I'm just sick of living. I've lived more than many people and I'm only 48 years old. Have you ever had similar feelings? If so, what did you do?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Aging With HIV" forum

 How Could HIV/AIDS Be a Leading Cause of Death?
I read somewhere that HIV/AIDS is going to be among the leading causes of death in the world in 2030. How is this possible with so many new, better HIV meds available, and the life expectancy of a person diagnosed with HIV today dramatically increased?

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

Insurance, Workplace & Legal Concerns

 Do Poz Health Care Workers Have to Disclose?
I'm a medical resident and newly diagnosed with HIV. I'm scared of losing the career I've worked so hard to obtain. What are the laws in regard to whether I have to disclose my status to my residency program and to the state medical board?

Christa Douaihy, Esq., responds in the "Legal Issues and HIV" forum

 What's the Deal With Insurance and Pre-Existing Conditions Under HIPAA?
It's my understanding that if one has creditable insurance and does not have an insurance lapse of more than 62 days, insurance companies must offer you insurance coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions. Yet in a recent newspaper article in my city, a writer claimed that his COBRA policy was ending and he was denied coverage by several insurance companies due to pre-existing conditions. What's the real story?

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

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Body Shape Changes & HIV/AIDS

 Are People of Color More Prone to Facial Wasting?
I'm a gay black man. I've been taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for nearly two years. My CD4 count is 460 and my viral load is undetectable. I've put on about 10 pounds during this period, but I've noticed that I'm starting to lose fat in my face. I've heard blacks are more prone to facial wasting. Is this true? What can I do?

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

HIV/AIDS Treatment

 When Will I Be Able to Start HIV Meds?
I'm very eager to start taking HIV treatment. Last September my CD4 count was 467, and I was told to come back to the clinic in June of this year. What if my CD4 count is still high? Will that mean I won't be given the option to start meds?

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

 Now That I'm Pregnant, Can I Stay on Atripla?
I just found out I'm four weeks pregnant, and I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for a while. I know Atripla is not recommended during pregnancy. What are the chances of my baby being harmed by the medication?

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

More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:

Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS

 Which Meds Are Less Likely to Make My Osteoporosis Worse?
My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is over 700. I don't have any other health issues besides HIV and osteoporosis, and because of it my HIV specialist wants to take me off Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), which I am taking with Norvir (ritonavir) and Prezista (darunavir). I've tried Prezista with Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) before, but it seemed to make me dizzy. I was hoping to try Epzicom again with Isentress (raltegravir), but my doctor is reluctant and suggested I take Isentress, Norvir and Prezista with Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC). What are your thoughts on some of these options, as far as bone loss goes?

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds via the "Aging With HIV" forum

 How Long Before a Person Shows Hepatitis C Antibodies?
I've read that 97 percent of people will show hepatitis C antibodies within six months of exposure if they've been infected. Under what circumstance would someone take longer than six months? Does being HIV positive affect this process at all?

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

Connect With Others

Will I Ever Find Love Again?
(A recent post from the "Relationships and Dating" board)

I'm 34, single and I have been positive for 13 years now. I have 3 beautiful kids and was once married. It's not easy to find someone when you're in this situation, but I'm not giving up. I know that there is someone out there for me ... but sometimes I need to be reminded. Has anyone out there ever worried about finding love, and then found it? I need some positive words ... -- southernpride34

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HIV Transmission

 Massage on Scratched Skin: Can You Help Me Stop Suffering With Worry?
I had a simple foot massage at a spa. I just rolled up my trousers to my knees and had her massage my tired legs from knee to toes. After the massage went back to my room and to my horror discovered that I had badly scratched my shin area due to itchiness near the sock line. I hadn't bothered to check the massage therapist's hands for any cuts. I cannot find a clear answer to my question about the HIV risk from this encounter, and I am worried silly and can't sleep. Can't a person enjoy a simple massage without being consumed with worry about their HIV risk? Is anything safe anymore?

Erik Glenn, M.A., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum

Strange but True

 Does Constant Masturbation Affect CD4 Count?
If an HIV-positive person masturbates constantly, will their CD4 count drop? Will they recover those CD4 cells after a few days, once the marathon of masturbation has stopped, or will their CD4 count remain unstable?

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

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