August 14, 2012
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Living With HIV

 HIV's Long-Term Effects: What's This HIV Expert Talking About?
In a recent interview about searching for an HIV cure, one legendary HIV doctor mentions that people are not often aware of either the long-term effects of HIV infection (on treatment) or of incomplete immune reconstitution. Could you talk about those things a little so we readers will better understand them?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Aging With HIV" forum

 Will Marinol Show Up as Marijuana on a Drug Test?
I'm fighting for custody of my son. I also take prescription Marinol (dronabinol). Could the Marinol cause me to test positive for pot on a drug test, thereby jeopardizing my custody case? What can I do if I'm drug tested?

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

Insurance, Workplace & Legal Concerns

 Can I Keep My Benefits After I Start My New Job?
I'm about to start a new job that offers benefits to full-time employees. When it comes time to fill out the paperwork for benefits, do I have to disclose my HIV status? I'm currently on Medicare and getting my meds through ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program). Since I won't be earning more than the cutoff for eligibility for those programs at my new job, could I keep getting treatment under those programs and ask my employer to contribute what would otherwise be spent on my health insurance to a health care savings account or an IRA (individual retirement account)?

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

Visual AIDS: Art from HIV-Positive Artists

Image from the August 2012 Visual AIDS gallery Detail from:
"Observe 1994-2011 (Detail)," 2012
Richard Sawdon Smith

Visit the August 2012 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, "Bloodbrothers," is curated by David Serotte.

HIV/AIDS Treatment

 Should I Worry About Stopping Meds for a Clinical Trial?
I'm participating in a therapeutic vaccine clinical trial which requires a three-month structured treatment interruption (STI). I will have been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for two years by the time I get to the phase in the trial when I'd be taking the STI. What concerns should I have about interrupting my medications and then restarting them after three months?

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

 Can Sustiva Cause Psychiatric Problems?
I've been taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for more than a month now, but I've been told that Sustiva can cause psychiatric problems. I work as a member of an airline crew and I'm worried that Sustiva might cause me not to get an aviation medical certificate and I could lose my job. What do you know about Sustiva and psychiatric issues?

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

Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS

 Will It Be Safe for Me to Take Sebivo for Hepatitis B?
I'm a 33-year-old man. I recently finished a 48-week course of hepatitis B treatment with Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a). Now my specialist wants to re-treat me using Sebivo (telbivudine). Will it be OK to take Sebivo after being treated with Pegasys? Is it OK to get pregnant while taking Sebivo?

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

Connect With Others

Which Cities Provide Good Assistance for People Living With HIV?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

Me and my boyfriend are both positive and we're looking to move to somewhere with better assistance and programs for people with HIV. We currently stay in Mississippi and in the Memphis, Tenn., area. We have had very bad luck over the past 4 years finding and keeping jobs in this area due to the economy, and there's no financial assistance for struggling young HIV+ people.

Anywhere you know that has good programs that can help with housing and other services for new HIV+ residents of that city or state would be helpful. I'm really clueless on where to go to find info on this, and who to talk to. I'm currently unemployed and need to get out of the South ASAP. Can anyone help? -- positive2741

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Understanding HIV/AIDS Labs

 It's a Good Thing My Viral Load Is Undetectable ... Right?
Two years ago I had a CD4 count of 16 and spent two weeks in the hospital. Now my viral load is undetectable but my CD4 count is just 148. Is there any way to keep my viral undetectable while maintaining a healthier CD4 count? Is it still better to have an undetectable viral load, even when you have a CD4 count of less than 200?

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

HIV Transmission

 Took a Full Load, Now I'm Taking PEP: What's My Risk?
I had anal sex with my partner who is HIV positive. The condom broke and I took a heavy, deep load of his semen. I'm now taking a 28-day course of HIV meds as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). What are my chances of becoming HIV positive?

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

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