May 30, 2012
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Living With HIV

 Are There Tools for Dealing With Stress While Living With HIV?
It's been a year and half since I became aware of my HIV-positive status. I'm a busy student, and I'm finding it difficult to handle the additional stress of learning to live with HIV. How can I reduce stress and protect my health?

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

 What Are the Risks of Being Overweight?
I was a size 34; recently I've gone up to a size 40. I'm not on HIV meds yet, and I even started going to the gym to lose some pounds. Is it healthy for an HIV-positive person to gain weight in a short period of time? What are some possible consequences of gaining a lot of weight?

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

Mixed-Status Couples

 Is 4 Days Too Soon for My Partner to Show Symptoms?
I'm HIV positive with a viral load of around 65,000. My partner and I recently had sex, and four days later she had swollen glands, a sore throat and a fever. Is four days too soon for a person's body to start showing symptoms of acute HIV infection?

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

Insurance, Workplace & Legal Concerns

 Is Not Disclosing My HIV Status a Crime if I Use a Condom?
Is it against the law to not disclose your HIV status to a person you're engaging in sexual acts with if you've taken the appropriate preventative measures (taking HIV meds, using condoms or other barriers, etc.)?

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

 Do I Have to Tell the Country I'm Visiting That I'm HIV Positive?
If I travel to a country outside the United States for a vacation, do I have to tell the other country in some way -- on my passport or something -- that I'm HIV positive? If I moved abroad, say to London or France, would I be able to get medical treatment and still receive my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) check?

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

Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the May 2012 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Book of Sambo I," 2007
Frederick Weston

Visit the May 2012 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, "Jungle Pussy," is curated by Yeni Mao.

Body Shape Changes & HIV/AIDS

 Any Thoughts on the Skin-Tightening Effects of Ultherapy?
I've been seeing a lot of press recently about Ultherapy, a treatment using radio waves to heat and tighten up loose skin on the face and neck. Do you think a treatment like this might reduce the slack I'm getting in my neck from lack of volume and age, since as far as I know they can't put fillers in your neck?

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

HIV/AIDS Treatment

 Newly Diagnosed and Already Drug Resistant: What Are My Next Steps?
I was infected with HIV sometime in the middle of 2011, and diagnosed in January of this year. My first lab test results showed a viral load of 147,000 and a CD4 count of 472. My results three months later were slightly better, but not by much: My viral load is 115,000 and my CD4 count is 486. My doctor believes I might be one of the few people whose viral load stays detectable after acute infection, and thinks I should start HIV meds ASAP. He also found that my virus has a rare combination of resistances. What does that mean for my treatment options?

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

 What Would Happen if I Took Atripla Twice a Day?
If a person taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) increases her or his dosage to twice a day, could that have a positive impact on the person's viral load? Could it speed up the process of achieving an undetectable viral load? Could the person go back to once-a-day dosage once her or his viral load was undetectable? What would be the harm in doing this?

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

Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS

 How Can I Tell if My Memory Loss Is Abnormal?
I've noticed I have increased memory loss. This is very disturbing. How will the memory loss progress? What can I do about it? How can I start to figure out if it's true neurocognitive impairment?

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

 Newly Diagnosed With HIV and Hepatitis B: What's Next?
I'm 26 years old and I recently found out I'm infected with both HIV and hepatitis B. What do I do now? What are my options as far as treatment for both viruses?

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

 Is There a Connection Between Granular Parakeratosis and HIV?
I'm HIV positive and on Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) with a CD4 count of around 360 and an undetectable viral load. I've had some outbreaks of the minor skin disease granular parakeratosis on one elbow and one finger on my right hand. Cortisone cream hasn't done much. Is there any relationship between granular parakeratosis and being HIV positive?

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

Connect With Others

How Do I Tell My Boyfriend I've Tested Positive
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I tested positive a week ago. I've been seeing this absolutely AMAZING guy for about a month now. I was tested in March and my test came back negative. I had no idea I was positive, but unfortunately that is the case and I must deal. What I have to face tomorrow is telling my boyfriend ... I think this is probably scarier than actually finding out I was positive.

The reason I am so scared is because the chances of me passing it to him are very high. We have been having unsafe sex since we have been together. It's one thing for him to panic and leave me, but it's another thing for him to be positive also. ... I love him so much and I don't know if I could live with myself. I also don't want him to abandon me, especially not now when I need him most. I feel like the days to come are going to be dark and lonely. Has anybody out there been faced with a similar situation? -- anton2307

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Understanding HIV/AIDS Labs

 Drop in CD4 Count and Percentage: Is This a Blip?
I was diagnosed with HIV in July 2011. At my last lab visit my CD4 count was 408 with a percentage of 21; this month it's down to 289 and 19. I take Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and have yet to miss a dose. What's going on? Is this a "blip"?

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

HIV Transmission

 First Time With a Guy: Was It Risky?
Two days ago, I fooled around with a guy (my first). Everything we did was safe -- kissing, mutual masturbation -- and then I decided that I wanted to try bottoming, so he put on a condom. However, when he was jacking off, he had a considerable amount of pre-cum, and when he put the condom on I'm sure there was still some pre-cum on his hand. When I got home there was the slightest remnant of blood on my toilet paper. Could pre-cum on the outside of the condom coming in contact with broken skin in my anus have put me at risk for HIV if my partner was positive?

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

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