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August 13, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment & Complications
  • Women & Pregnancy
  • HPV Transmission
  • Strange but True
  •  LIVING WITH HIV

    An AIDS Diagnosis Is Frightening, But Life Can Go Back to Normal
    I'd like to share my story with people newly diagnosed with HIV: I learned I had HIV in 2005 after I landed in the hospital, desperately sick. My CD4 count was 108, and I was on a respirator for 10 days. But now, besides the three pills I take once a day and my doctor's check-ups, my life is the same as before my diagnosis. To be honest, I often forget I'm HIV positive, or that I was ever sick. So stay informed, deal with problems as they come and hang in there!


    If My Partner Leaves His Job (and His Health Insurance Plan), How Can I Get Health Coverage?
    I'm self employed and currently covered for medical and drug expenses under my partner's group policy from his employer. My partner is considering another job, which would eliminate my coverage. Am I eligible for COBRA, and if so, what options do I have after it expires?


    Could HIV Be Wearing Me Out?
    After nine years of HIV infection, I'm still in good health and haven't needed HIV treatment. The trouble is that I've been unbelievably exhausted lately. I'll admit that I can think of a few other explanations for my fatigue: For instance, I usually lead a healthy lifestyle, but drowning my sorrows after I broke up with my boyfriend left me with a beer belly. Still, I wonder: Could HIV be sapping my energy?


    How Did I Develop Advanced HIV Less Than a Year After Being Infected?
    I tested negative for HIV during a life insurance physical about two years ago. Eleven months later, I was diagnosed with AIDS; my CD4 count was 187 and my viral load was 89,000. How did my HIV progress so quickly?
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     HIV TREATMENT & COMPLICATIONS

    How Do I Choose My First HIV Treatment Regimen?
    I tested positive a couple weeks ago, with a CD4 count of 355 and a viral load of 119,000. My doctor recommended starting treatment and suggested three regimens to consider. I chose Norvir (ritonavir) + Reyataz (atazanavir) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), but I'm concerned about the potential for liver problems on Reyataz. Did I make the right choice?


    What Happens When Someone With an Undetectable Viral Load Stops Taking HIV Meds?
    I'm wondering how much we know about the prognosis of a person who has achieved an undetectable viral load while taking HIV treatment. Does HIV always resurge when a person with an undetectable viral load stops taking their meds?


    Can I Take 400 mg of Viramune Once a Day Instead of 200 mg of Viramune Twice a Day?
    A nurse working for a clinical trial I'm participating in told me that I could take 400 mg of Viramune (nevirapine) once a day instead of two separate doses of 200 mg. Is this really OK?


    Is It Safe to Stop HIV Meds After Starting Treatment Early?
    I've been invited to participate in a clinical trial looking at whether it's beneficial to start HIV meds soon after infection. Half of the participants will take meds for only nine months, then stop. Would I be at I risk for developing drug resistance if I'm assigned to this group? What is known about the risks and benefits of starting meds early, then interrupting treatment?
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     WOMEN & PREGNANCY

    What Meds Should I Take During My Pregnancy?
    I'm HIV positive and want to have another child. During my first pregnancy, I took Combivir (AZT/3TC) + Viramune (nevirapine), which I tolerated pretty well. Since then, I've changed regimens; my current regimen includes Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin), which isn't recommended for use during pregnancy. Is it safe for me to replace the Sustiva in my current regimen with Viramune, even though I've been on it before? If not, what meds would you suggest I take?


    Should My Baby Start HIV Meds?
    My baby tested positive for HIV at six weeks, even though I took HIV medications during my pregnancy and he was given medication after he was born. His doctor thinks he should start HIV treatment when he is three months old, but I have reservations. Is starting treatment so early a good idea? Can I be sure that he is really infected with HIV?
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     HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV) TRANSMISSION

    Should I Get the HPV Vaccine If I Already Have HPV?
    I'm thinking about getting Gardasil, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Will the vaccine benefit me if I already have HPV? Do I need to get tested for HPV before I get the vaccine, so I'm not wasting time and money?


    Can You Catch Genital Warts in Your Mouth?
    My partner and I are both HIV positive, and we've both been diagnosed with anal warts (human papillomavirus). If I perform unprotected oral sex on my partner, could I get genital warts in my mouth?
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     STRANGE BUT TRUE

    Should I Wrap My Balls After I Bag My Penis?
    Since condoms only protect the penis from sexually transmitted diseases, I'm trying to think of a way to protect my testes. Do you think saran wrap would work?


    Swimming in the Summertime: Sun, Surf and ... HIV?
    I borrowed a friend's swimsuit, and when I put it on it was still damp from the last time she wore it. If she has HIV, could the virus have stayed in the fabric and infected me when I suited up?

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    Visual AIDS
    Listen to the Latest
    Research From IAS 2007

    Photo Collage of HIV Experts at IAS 2007

    Get the latest info on HIV-related research straight from the researchers! We interviewed a wide range of HIV experts at the 4th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2007), which took place from July 22 to July 25 in Sydney, Australia. More than two dozen podcast interviews are now available!

    From conference wrap-ups to summaries of individual studies, our IAS 2007 podcast index is the place to look for audio recaps straight from Sydney. Full transcripts of many interviews are already available, and we're adding more each day.

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the August 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Two Yellow Spots," 1994
    Jerome Caja
    Visit the August 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, curated by Arnold J. Kemp, is a dedication to the works of Jerome Caja and David Cannon Dashiell, HIV-positive artists who died in the 1990s.