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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

My Fabulous Disease

Treating My Facial Wasting With Artefill


A Video Blog

By Mark S. King

January 16, 2013

For several years now, I've made the occasional pilgrimage to Vero Beach, Florida, to be treated by Dr. Gerald Pierone for facial wasting, or lipoatrophy. And for all of these years, we have battled The Look: the sunken cheeks and sagging face of someone who has been on HIV medications for a long time. In my latest video blog below, you're going to see our progress, step by step.



Episode 44: Treating My Facial Wasting With Artefill


It was all well and good to be front-and-center as an HIV-positive man during the first years of the AIDS crisis. It's easier being a role model when your face looks good on the poster. But my dismay over the telltale wasting that began to appear on my face surprised me, and it pitted two strong emotions against one another: my pride for being a longtime HIV/AIDS advocate, and my shame for looking like one. I'm only human.

There is an emotional component to facial wasting, because it forces us to address our own vanity, as well as the very real, physical results of HIV medications, which often affect people who have had no other manifestations of the disease. I've tried to address these issues in past blogs, but to be honest, I have put more time and effort into just trying to wipe the AIDS right off of my face.

For my earlier treatments, Dr. Pierone used Sculptra and Radiesse, both effective but temporary solutions to facial wasting (results vary, but typically last somewhere between six months and two years). Beginning with my last appointment a year ago, Dr. Pierone began using Artefill, a more permanent filler product (Dr. Pierone wisely does these treatments in careful stages). But, because Artefill is not FDA approved specifically for facial wasting (it is approved for cosmetic use), it cannot offer the same kind of patient assistance programs as the ones offered by Sculptra and Radiesse. New studies are underway now to show what we already know: Artefill is safe and effective for facial wasting. Once approved for this purpose, one can assume the manufacturer will join the patient assistance bandwagon.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Visit Mark's live blog at www.MyFabulousDisease.com.

Send Mark an email.

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See Also
An HIVer's Guide to Metabolic Complications
TheBody.com's Lipoatrophy Resource Center
Ask a Question About Facial Wasting at The Body's "Ask the Experts" Forums
More Personal Accounts of Facial Wasting (Lipoatrophy)

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Mico (Washington, DC) Tue., Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm EST
Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Stay sexy and ginger.

I'd have your babies!
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Bill (FTL) Mon., Feb. 4, 2013 at 10:02 am EST
Question, is this possible for those of us with little to no fat on their face. A doc told me that Sculptra does not work for that reason.
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Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Mark S. King (Atlanta) Tue., Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm EST
If you are saying that the lipoatrophy is severe, than my experience has been that yes, fillers can help correct this but it would of course take more time and more product. Consult an experienced specialist and, as I say in the video, be sure they have performed this procedure many, many times. For specific questions, I would recommend Dr. Pierone's web site, at http://facialrejuvenationfl.com/ or contact his office directly (Aimee is very helpful with questions).


Comment by: James (Cambridge, UK.) Fri., Jan. 25, 2013 at 11:46 am EST
Thanks, Mark. Valuable information there. I only hope Artefill is available here in the UK if or when I need to take advantage of it. Am saving this page on my computer for that time!
Reply to this comment


Comment by: CP (NYC) Fri., Jan. 25, 2013 at 3:38 am EST
Thank you for sharing this! And, you look great!
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Comment by: CP (NYC) Fri., Jan. 25, 2013 at 3:28 am EST
Thank you for sharing this!
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Comment by: Mike Hellman (Pittsburgh, PA) Thu., Jan. 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm EST
Thanks for your courage and advocacy on this issue, Mark. I am grateful for your sharing with us.
Reply to this comment


Comment by: Doug Collins (NYC ) Tue., Jan. 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm EST
Brother, the best thing is that we're alive and enjoying life. Thanks for sharing your story.
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VIDEO BLOG:
My Fabulous Disease


Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.

Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.

Speaking engagements: Mark King is available to speak to groups. Contact Mark about speaking at your organization or event!


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A Place Like This by Mark King

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Interviews With Mark:

Mark King Looks Back at the AIDS Epidemic's Darkest Hour in the U.S. (May 14, 2008)

This Month in HIV: Crystal Methamphetamine and HIV (August 2007)


Articles by Mark:

Meth Burial (May 2008)

Outliving My Father (May 22, 2001)
Mark recounts how years of caring for friends dying of AIDS prepared him for taking care of his dying father
From The Advocate

AIDS Always Benefits from What We Don't Talk About (April 2001)


For the rest of Mark's articles, click here.


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