June 6, 2012
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Living With HIV

 Longtime Survivor: What's the Chance of Continuing to Lead a Healthy Life?
I'm 43 years old and I've been HIV positive since 1988. Currently, I'm the model of health; my viral load has been undetectable for many years and I'm very compliant with my meds. I've been very lucky never to have been sick apart from the usual annoying colds. However, I read a couple of disheartening articles recently that said my life expectancy was about 32 years. I don't buy that blanket assessment as it doesn't consider individual circumstances. What do you think? What are the prospects of living a long, healthy life for someone like me?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Aging With HIV" forum


 How Long Does HIV Survive Outside the Body, Really?
I recently read two articles on TheBody.com about the survival of HIV outside of the body. One reads: "HIV has been kept viable (able to infect) for up to 15 days, and even after the body fluid containing it had dried." The other reads: "Drying of even these high concentrations of HIV reduces the amount of infectious virus by 90 to 99 percent within several hours." Which is true? If high concentrations of an HIV-positive body fluid were dried, would it take 15 days or just a few hours for the virus to no longer be viable?

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


Mixed-Status Couples

 How Risky Is Sex With My HIV-Positive Partner?
I'm HIV negative, as far as I know, and I now have an HIV-positive partner. He is on HIV meds and very stable. We have pretty safe sex but sometimes we're a little risky. I don't want to become HIV positive, but I love him so it's hard not being able to engage in some sex acts with him. What are the different levels of risk and safety we should consider? What are the chances I'll become HIV positive if we have unprotected sex?

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


Insurance, Workplace & Legal Concerns

 If I Move Out of State, Will COBRA Follow?
My partner of 24 years has an opportunity to relocate to San Diego for work (we live in Boston). I'd like to follow him there but this means I'd need to quit my job and then not have health coverage. Can you take COBRA if you quit a job? Would it be portable to another state? I'm really worried about having continuous health coverage without lapses. Is there anything else I should do to protect myself and my coverage?

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


Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the June 2012 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Vegetables," 1986
Jimmy DeSana

Visit the June 2012 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, "Maybe I'm heading into another change. I hope so," is curated by Matthias Herrmann.

HIV/AIDS Treatment

 If I Stopped Atripla, Why Am I Still Having Vivid Dreams?
I took Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for a year. Even though I had great results, I had such vivid and intense dreams I felt like I was never really sleeping. I switched to Complera (rilpivirine/tenofovir/FTC) three months ago but, unfortunately, nothing has changed. My T-cell count is up to 758 and my viral load is undetectable, but my dreams are still very intense, I still have very low energy, and my sex drive is completely gone, and I'm only 37 years old. What should I do?

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


 Do Any HIV Meds Cause False-Positive Tests for Other Drugs?
If a person taking HIV meds took a sports doping test, but hadn't taken any performance-enhancing drugs, would this show up in any way in their drug test?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Do Ayahuasca and HIV Meds Mix?
Is it dangerous to drink ayahuasca tea while taking HIV meds? What about other kinds of medications and foods?

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


Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS

 Could I Be Diabetic Because of My HIV Meds?
My HIV has been successfully controlled for 17 years. However, I recently found out I'm diabetic, and I've been told my HIV meds may have played a role in causing the diabetes. Do you think this is likely? What do you suggest?

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


 Can I Risk a Day Without HIV Meds for My First Colonoscopy?
Now that I'm over 50, I need to have a colonoscopy so my doctor ordered one for me. Since I have to fast and clean out my system the entire day before the test, I will not be able to take my HIV meds. I take Isentress (raltegravir), Norvir (ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). These are the only viable meds for me at this point. Nothing else has gotten the virus under control in the past 12 years. I don't want to take a chance on losing their potency. Should I skip the test rather than run the risk of it causing a problem with my meds?

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


Connect With Others

Can't Someone Else Help Me Smile?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I feel like I have to think positively all the time as I live with this disease, because if I don't, I know that I don't have anyone to cheer me up when I need to be cheered up. So I try to smile all the time.

Anybody out there want to share what they do to keep their spirits up? -- POSITIVELIVING

Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an e-mail address) -- click here to get started!



HIV & Hepatitis Transmission

 How Often Should an HIVer Be Tested for Hepatitis C?
What factors might make it more likely for a person living with HIV to contract hepatitis C (hep C)? How often should we be tested for hep C?

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


 Doc-to-Doc Advice: Should I Be Worried About My Exposure at Work?
I'm a student doing lab rotations. This week I accidentally got a drop each of blood and urine (two drops total) in my eye from separate patients. There were no eye goggles or shields available to protect staff from potential exposures. I was so in shock and embarrassed that I didn't wash my eye out or report the incident to anyone. A couple of days after the exposure I had a fever, swollen lymph glands, a sore throat with chills and a productive cough. I also recently had unprotected sex with my husband. Are there any symptoms I should watch out for in him? Should I be concerned? Any parental advice you can give me?

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds via the "Mental Health and HIV" forum





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