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April 16, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV/AIDS Denialism
  • HIV Treatment
  • Understanding Your Labs
  • Hepatitis C & HIV
  • HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True

    Newly Diagnosed -- Am I Going to Die?
    Two months ago I was diagnosed with HIV, syphilis and a staph infection. My first lab results showed a CD4 count of 431 and a viral load of 3,000. Are these results bad? Do they mean I'm dying?

    How Can I Warn Others About Health Care Workers Who Discriminate Against HIVers?
    I recently read a post about an HIVer who was denied laser hair removal treatment because of their HIV status. I experienced similar discrimination at a chiropractor's office in Philadelphia. Although I wasn't denied services, the chiropractor said he would only touch me with gloves on, even though he does not use gloves when he is with other patients. I was appalled that someone in the health care industry was so ill-informed about HIV. Is there anything I can do to warn other HIVers away from his office?

    Finding Life Insurance When You Have AIDS
    If I've been diagnosed with AIDS, where can I get life insurance?


    How to "Just Say No" to HIV/AIDS Denialism
    My friend recently attended a seminar led by AIDS denialist Gary Null. Despite the fact that my friend is HIV positive and has experienced the benefits of HIV meds firsthand, he believes the fiction that Mr. Null espouses: that HIV is not sexually transmitted, that AIDS has nothing to do with HIV and that HIV medications are a hoax created by the pharmaceutical industry. I've tried to talk to him, but he won't listen to reason. Please help me explain to him why Mr. Null's beliefs are incorrect and dangerous.


    HIV Treatment News
    Facts about one of the latest HIV meds: dosing, safety, and efficacy


    Multidrug-Resistant HIV: Are There Any Other Meds to Try?
    Since she was diagnosed with advanced HIV two years ago, my girlfriend has been on many different regimens. A resistance test found that she was resistant to 70 percent of all meds, and the doctor says that she is almost out of choices. Although her viral load is currently undetectable, there is something wrong with her kidneys and her liver, so they are taking her off meds completely for a few weeks. What if she needs yet another medication switch? Are there new meds available with side effects that her body can handle?

    What Is "Immune Damage"?
    I've been HIV positive for 10 years and I'm still healthy enough not to need treatment. However, I've come across the phrase "damage to the immune system" in reference to delayed treatment. My doctors speak about immune health strictly in terms of CD4 count and viral load, but is there another way to evaluate the damage HIV has done to my immune system?

    Treatment Through Tokin'?
    My HIV-positive friend is not on HIV meds. However, since my friend began smoking marijuana, their viral load has decreased to less than 80. Does this mean marijuana could be used as a treatment for HIV?

    What Does "Undetectable" Mean?
    My boyfriend has been taking HIV meds since January. His doctor just told him over the phone that he is now "undetectable" -- and I have no idea what that means. Is it a good thing, and if so, how can we keep it that way?

    CD4 Count Down, CD4 Percentage Up: What's the Deal?
    I was diagnosed about a year ago and became undetectable soon after going on HIV meds. However, I recently noticed a considerable drop in my CD4 count (from 440 to 280), which alarmed me. Meanwhile, my CD4 percentage increased slightly (from 18 percent to 20 percent). How do I interpret this?

    Should I Join a Clinical Trial for HIV/Hep C-Coinfected People?
    My HIV doctor recommended that I participate in a clinical trial for people with HIV/hepatitis C coinfection. Are clinical trials more or less effective than working directly with your personal doctor? Are all of these trials safe?

    Is This "Acute" or "Chronic" Hep C?
    I'm a health care worker who was exposed to hepatitis C-infected blood last year. I'm now told that I have chronic hep C, which seems to suggest that I've been infected for a long time. However, I've been tested for hepatitis C several times in the past, and the tests have always come out negative. Could I actually have acute hep C instead? If I do, should I seek out treatment?

    Managing Hep C and HIV While Living With Hemophilia
    I have hepatitis C, HIV and hemophilia. Can you recommend a liver-friendly HIV drug regimen? What liver tests will I need? Are they safe for hemophiliacs?

    Do Heterosexuals Really Get HIV?
    Do people often become HIV positive through unprotected heterosexual sex?


    (Toe) Sucking All the Enjoyment Out of My Fetish
    I have a foot fetish and enjoy sucking on toes. Is it possible for me to get HIV via open cuts or sores in my mouth or on the toes?

    A Romanian Sex Worker Urinated in My Eye
    I am a very worried, 30-year-old Romanian. I engaged in sadomasochism and water sports with a prostitute. We used condoms, but some of her urine got in my eye. I washed it out a minute later, but I’m still worried. Is there any risk of transmitting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases this way?


    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the April 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Amerika -- I Surrender No. 2," 2002;
    Timothy Lonergan
    Visit the April 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "On the Stage," is curated by Tomoko Ashikawa, the curator/director at AG Gallery in Brooklyn and the Artists File Coordinator at Artists Space in New York.