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May 14, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • Complications & Coinfections
  • HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True: Bestiality Edition
  •  LIVING WITH HIV

    Have HIV Meds and Awareness Really Improved Since the 1980s?
    I keep hearing people say that tons of progress has been made in HIV treatment and awareness since the beginning of the epidemic, but I don't believe it. I tested positive 15 years ago, and now I'm dealing with health problems most people don't have to worry about until their 70s or 80s. We've spent millions on AIDS education, but people keeping asking questions like, "Can I get HIV from sitting in a chair a person with AIDS used? "Maybe we should give up trying to teach people and concentrate on finding a cure. What do you think?


    My Partner Says He "Can't Deal" With My HIV
    When my partner and I got together three months ago, he knew that I had HIV. Now he's saying that even though he loves me, he can't handle my positive status. What can I do to help him?


    Denial Ain't Just a River ...
    I tested positive in 2003, and I still can't believe it. Since my diagnosis I've had three relationships, but didn't disclose my status in any of them -- I'm afraid that if I tell my partner I have HIV, he'll leave me. I haven't had any symptoms of HIV; is it possible I don't really have the virus?

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     HIV TREATMENT

    Should I Start Meds Before Surgery?
    I'm going to have surgery on my wrist to repair a fracture. My CD4 count is over 800 and my viral load is over 20,000. I'm not on HIV meds; should I start taking them prior to surgery?


    Is My Body Not Digesting My Atripla Pills?
    For the last few days I have noticed what looks like a half-dissolved white pill in my stools roughly three hours after I take my HIV medication, Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). Now I'm in a panic. Could Atripla be passing that quickly through my body, hardly absorbed at all?


    What Do the "Other Mutations" Detected by My HIV Drug Resistance Test Mean?
    I'm newly infected and confused about the results of my HIV drug resistance test. Though the test found no resistance to NRTIs or NNRTIs, it did list a handful of "other mutations." What do these mutations mean? Will they complicate my HIV treatment?


    Undetectable Viral Load, Falling CD4 Count While on Treatment
    Over the past year, my viral load has remained undetectable, but my CD4 count and percentage have declined rapidly. I've been taking Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) + Viramune (nevirapine), but my CD4 count has dropped from 400 to 200. My doctor plans to switch me to Norvir (ritonavir) + Reyataz (atazanavir) + Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin). Is this a smart move?


    My Long-Dormant HIV Seems to Have Awakened; Is It Time to Start Meds?
    I've been HIV positive for 16 years. Until last October, my CD4 count was always over 800 and my viral load was undetectable, even though I'd never been on meds. Now my viral load is 17,000 and my CD4 count is 500, and I'm pondering starting meds for the first time. What do you think?
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     COMPLICATIONS & COINFECTIONS

    My Mr. Happy Is Not So Happy
    Last year, my urologist had to remove my right testicle, and I've been having serious erection problems ever since. My testosterone is in the low range of "normal" for a man in his 50s. Enhancement drugs, such as Cialis, have very little effect on me. I've asked my HIV doc to start me on AndroGel or another testosterone replacement therapy, but she says it's not necessary. What should I do?
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     HIV TRANSMISSION

    Should Both Partners Use a Condom During Anal Sex?
    At my HIV-positive partner's last checkup, his doctor recommended that we use two condoms when we have anal sex: In addition to the condom I always wear, he wants my partner to insert a female condom into his anus. That sounds strange to me. What do you think?


    How Much Testing is Necessary After a Needlestick Accident?
    I'm a medical resident, and last July I was stuck with a used needle. Since then I have tested negative for HIV three times and tested negative for hepatitis C once, but I'm still scared that I was infected with HIV. I've been experiencing tons of symptoms: vomiting, night sweats, ear pain and rashes on my feet. Is further testing warranted?
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     STRANGE BUT TRUE: BESTIALITY EDITION

    On a Very Special Episode of Mister Ed ...
    I'm responsible for taking care of horses on the farm where I live. Once I put a horse to sleep and had oral sex with him. Could I have contracted any sexually transmitted diseases from the horse?


    It's a Dog-Lick-Dog World
    I have HIV, and sometimes I get my dog to lick whipped cream off of my penis. Can my dog become HIV positive this way?

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    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the May 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Eclipse," 1992; Frank Moore
    Visit the May 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Eclipse," is curated by Laura Gilbert, an internationally exhibited artist in residence at El Taller Latino Americano arts complex in Manhattan.