July 3, 2012
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Living With HIV

 If Sushi Is a No-No for Poz People, What About Smoked Salmon?
I've read that sushi isn't the greatest thing to eat when you have immune deficiency because of the risk of food poisoning. What's your view on smoked salmon, since it's served cold but it isn't raw like sushi?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum

 How Can I Reconnect With My Faith?
I was diagnosed with HIV on June 9. I was born and raised Catholic, but struggle so much with faith. I've lost my parents and I don't have much of a support network. I need something more in my life right now as I start this journey with HIV. I have a wonderful, liberal-minded local priest whom I have known for nearly 20 years and would like confide in. Can you offer any guidance or assistance to someone struggling to find his faith again?

Rev. Todd A. Brown responds in the "Spiritual Support and HIV" forum

Mixed-Status Couples

 Can You Help Me and My Bride Prepare for Married Life?
I'm an HIV-positive guy, 27 years old, taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for the past two years; my viral load is undetectable. I want to marry my long-term girlfriend who's HIV negative. I have so many questions about what being married to her would look like for us! We've always used condoms in the past, but does my viral load being undetectable mean we can have unprotected sex? Does my past history of other sexually transmitted diseases (all treated) increase my chance of transmitting HIV? What precautions can we take before engaging in unprotected oral sex? Does she need to take PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) any time a condom breaks? Can we have a child using my sperm? With all this uncertainty, should I even marry her at all?

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

Insurance, Workplace & Legal Concerns

 What Else Must I Do to Get a Reasonable Accommodation at Work?
I am HIV positive and have asked for ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) accommodations at work. The ADA coordinator asked me to have my infectious disease doctor complete two documents, but he's refusing to complete one of them as he says he's not an ADA assessment specialist. I informed the ADA coordinator, and now she wants to send a letter to the doctor asking for the same information. What can I do?

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

Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the July 2012 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Underwater Boy," 1998 Luis Carle

Visit the July 2012 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, "Overnight Wave (For Arthur)," is curated by Rick Herron.

HIV/AIDS Treatment

 Can Some People Take Just 2 HIV Drugs Per Day?
I've been on Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for about three years now. I've read that treatment strategies involving only two drugs instead of three are being studied in some people living with HIV. Have you heard of this before? Can you explain this strategy?

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

 Do Customs Need to Know About My HIV Meds?
I'm planning a trip abroad for a week. Do I need to declare my HIV meds at customs?

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

Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS

 What Can Be Done About Low Blood Platelets?
I've been HIV positive for about 10 years. I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), my T-cell count is 895 and my viral load is undetectable. My last lab test results showed that my blood platelets had dropped to 84,000. I had been taking ibuprofen for about a week before my labs, and my doctor told me to stop once I got these results. Should I be worried? Is there anything I can do to increase my blood platelets?

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

 Could My Eye Inflammation Be HIV Related?
I'm 33 years old, my CD4 count is 725, my viral load is 40 copies and I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I was diagnosed with keratoconjunctivitis (eye inflammation); it's very painful and annoying as I am trying to study. Is this condition common in people living with HIV? What can I do to curb it?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum

More Questions About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:

Connect With Others

When to Start HIV Meds: Why Not Right Away?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

"What are some reasons why many people don't start on HIV treatment as soon as they're diagnosed?"

 -- astateoftrance

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Understanding HIV/AIDS Labs

 Why Did My Viral Load Go Up, and How Can I Make It Stop?
I found out I was HIV positive seven years ago. I eat healthily and exercise. My CD4 count falls between 750 and 800, and my viral load stays between 3,000 and 5,000. The past year my viral load has increased drastically to 24,000, while my CD4 count has remained at 800. What could be causing such a drastic increase in viral load? Should I be concerned?

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

HIV Transmission

 Do I Need to Use Hand Sanitizer to Kill HIV on My Phone?
A friend of mine had sex with an HIV-positive girl, and right afterward he touched my phone. Can I use any kind of hand sanitizer to kill HIV that might be on my phone?

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

Upcoming Events

 7/6 - 7/12: New York, NY: Screening of United in Anger

 7/7: Washington, DC: Team Up To Fight AIDS Night

 7/9: Staten Island, NY: A "Health Living" Luncheon for People Living with HIV and AIDS

 7/9, New York, NY: Spiritual HIV Support Dinner Forum for all affected by HIV and AIDS

 7/10, New York, NY: 2012 Annual Community Meeting -- New York City Faith In Action Coalition

 Add Your Own Event on Our Bulletin Boards

Activist Central

 Make the Pledge to Visit Your Members of Congress!

 HIV Accusations and Prosecutions: What Do You Think?

 It's the Best Kept Secret We Need to Share: There's a Totally Free and Public International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. This Summer

 Join the Black AIDS Institute at the AIDS 2012 International Community Science and Treatment Pre-Conference Workshop

 Train and Triumph With Team to End AIDS!

 Under Attack: Your Health Care Rights

 Activists Launch New Survey to Help Speed HIV Cure Research

 Demand Hershey Reverse Decision on HIV+ Student and Dismiss School Officials

 Count HIV+ Women In! PWN Launches National Campaign on World AIDS Day