August 28, 2012
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Living With HIV

 Where's the Talk of These Potential Cure Studies?
I was wondering whatever happened to a study I'd read about using certain approved cancer drugs as a potential cure for HIV. It seemed very promising, and then I heard nothing for two years. If it was so promising, why has it been abandoned? Do you know of any new information regarding that study? Why is no one taking up the gauntlet for this potential cure?

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


 Why Am I in Survival Mode All the Time?
I've been HIV positive for 17 years and living with AIDS now for seven. I'll spare all the details on how bad it was, but I almost died. Now that I've survived, I've found that my previous high level of morals and ethics has been replaced by an almost animalistic sense of survival. I see everything as a threat or potential threat to my wellbeing, and being an ex-Marine I am in a constant state of high alert. It has paralyzed me, putting me in a state similar to a deer in headlights. My HIV is under control, but I'm not. What's going on with me?

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


Mixed-Status Couples

 When Is It Safe to Have Sex Again With Other Partners?
My husband and I have an open relationship. We'd always practiced safer sex with each other and with others, but about six months ago we found out he was HIV positive; I'm still HIV negative. He's pretty healthy, on HIV meds as well as antibiotics to prevent opportunistic infections. All in all, we're confident in his health and progress. However, I'm terrified of having sex with other people, even safer sex, because I fear I could contract a sexually transmitted disease that could harm him if I passed it on to him. At what CD4 count should we feel comfortable having sex with others?

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


Insurance, Workplace & Legal Concerns

 My Procedures Weren't Experimental: How Do I Prove It?
I received a copy of a letter my insurance company sent to the lab where I had a lab test. The letter stated that the HIV genotype and phenotype testing for drug resistance that I'd had were experimental -- that their efficacy "has not been validated by the peer-reviewed literature." How is this possible? These tests aren't experimental, are they? Can my insurance company use this claim as a reason not to cover the testing? What should I do?

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


 Can a Chiropractor Refuse to Treat Me?
I'm both transgender and HIV positive. I went to a chiropractor and was sent off to a whole other facility after meeting with the doctor. Is this allowed? Was I discriminated against?

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


gay men's resource center

TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Gay Men serves up a vast amount of knowledge, first-person perspectives and a wide range of articles to provide gay men and allies with must-have information.

In this resource center you'll find:
Gay Men's Resource Center
  • Up Close & Personal: First-person stories and columns from gay men living with HIV.

  • Info & Advice: Here's where you can turn to for current statistics and facts, advice on safer sex, information on where to find support and more!

  • Hot-Button Issues: This section boasts exclusive roundtables, our Word on the Street slideshows and special reports all related to gay men.

  • Q & A: Our trusted professionals weigh in on readers' questions.

TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Gay Men was created for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men to have a safe place to consume HIV/AIDS information. We hope you enjoy it and find it useful!


HIV/AIDS Treatment

 Experiencing Edurant Side Effects: Is It Safe to Switch Back to Reyataz?
I'm a 58-year-old man and I've been HIV positive since 1997. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is usually 900 or above. I was on Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Reyataz (atazanavir) but I switched the Reyataz for Viramune (nevirapine) because I wanted a drug with less impact on cholesterol. I developed a serious allergic reaction to Viramune and eventually switched yet again, to Edurant (rilpivirine). I've been taking it for three weeks and fear I'm developing side effects -- itchy skin, numbness in my limbs, insomnia. I can't get an appointment to see my doctor for at least six weeks. I still have some Reyataz left -- do you think it'd be safe to go back to the Epzicom/Reyataz combo?

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


 Which New Med Should I Choose if I Can Only Afford One?
I've taken Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for two years now and will soon be switching. Medicare only covers 70 percent of my drug costs and I don't qualify for ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program), so I'd need to pay either $550 for Isentress (raltegravir) or $512 for Selzentry (maraviroc, Celsentri) a month. I will only be able to pay for one a month. Which one is better, especially for someone who hopes to get into a hepatitis C drug trial?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS

 Can I Treat Male Breast Enlargement Without Surgery?
I have been HIV positive since 1986. My viral load is undetectable and my T-cell count varies from 500 to 1,000. About 12 years ago I developed gynecomastia (male breast enlargement) as a result of using Androgel; I was told there was no solution besides surgery. Fast-forward to 2012; my doctor suggested I try testosterone treatment in combination with Arimidex (anastrozole) to address loss of muscle mass in my legs and possibly even help with the gynecomastia. Does this seem likely? Do you know of any therapies, other than the knife, that might have an impact on this condition?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Aging With HIV" forum


 Is It Dangerous to Get Pregnant While My Husband Is Taking Atripla?
My husband is on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and we're trying to conceive. I know the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) component of Atripla shouldn't be taken by women who are or want to be pregnant. Can my husband's regimen affect my pregnancy?

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


Connect With Others

Do I See My Sick Dad and Risk My Own Health?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

None of my family knows yet that I'm HIV+. My father has a chronic lung condition ... My parents live 450 miles away. The problem now is they admitted my father yesterday to the hospital with pneumonia and he is in an ICU. He almost didn't survive the last bout with pneumonia a year or two ago. Got my blood work back and they just started me on HIV meds this past week and also put me on antibiotics to help guard against pneumonia because my immune system is weak right now. My CD4 count was 181 and my viral load was 43,000.

My problem is, do I go be with my Dad and risk getting pneumonia or something else in the hospital? If it gets where it doesn't look like he's going to make it I have only one choice, and that is to go, and leave it in somebody else's hands. Now sure isn't the time to hit the family with my problems. Anybody have any idea what I should do? -- thebird1959

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Understanding HIV/AIDS Labs

 What Health Risks Exist When Your CD4 Count Is Normal?
I've recovered from an extremely low cd4 count (20) about 10 years ago. My viral load has been undetectable since I started treatment and my CD4 count is slightly above 500. I know a somewhat stable CD4 count at that level is considered OK in HIV-positive people, but does it compare to a healthy person's immune system? I fear I'm at greater risk for infections and cancers, and I'll have less chance to heal from them than the normal population. Is this true?

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


HIV Testing & Transmission

 Does Ecstasy Use Delay Seroconversion?
I have used ecstasy recreationally for the past year and a half -- sometimes more than once a weekend, sometimes not for a few months at a time, but all together I'd say I've used it a lot. I've read about ecstasy use damaging your CD4 cells and I'm wondering if this would cause a delayed seroconversion to being HIV positive. I received HIV-negative test results at the four- and five-month marks after a potential HIV exposure. Can I trust my results?

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





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