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August 27, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV & Health Insurance
  • HIV Medications
  • HIV, Meds & Body Fat
  • HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True

    One Person's Experience With Facial Wasting Treatment
    After several Sculptra injections to repair my facial wasting, I switched to a treatment called Artefill earlier this year. The results have been very good. Although Sculptra is much cheaper, Artefill goes in much easier, has fewer complications and lasts longer. My advice to readers of this forum: If you're thinking about face fixes, be sure to go to someone who has had a lot of experience with using injectable treatments to treat facial fat loss; it's an art form, and your results and side effects vary greatly depending on who is on the other side of the needle!

    Seeking a Limb Fat-Friendly Regimen
    I'm doing well on a regimen of Viramune (nevirapine) + Viread (tenofovir) + Ziagen (abacavir), with an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count of 450. However, my doctor is concerned about my kidney function and wants to replace the Viread in my regimen with Reyataz (atazanavir) + Norvir (ritonavir). However, I already have some fat loss in my limbs; will this switch worsen it? Is there some other combo I should consider switching to?

    Having Sex for the First Time Since I Was Diagnosed
    Since I was diagnosed with HIV 20 years ago, I've been celibate. Now I'm in a relationship with a negative man (I'm a woman) and considering taking the plunge. Up to this point, we've only kissed and fondled one another. Should I be content with that, or do you think it's OK for us to go farther?

    Can Doctors Who Aren't Infectious Disease Specialists Provide Good HIV Care?
    Since I live in a rural area and have few choices, I see a doctor who treats a number of HIV-positive people, but who is not a specialist in infectious diseases. Can you get good HIV care from a doctor who doesn't have special training in infectious diseases?

    Just Diagnosed at 49 With a High Viral Load; What's My Prognosis?
    I was diagnosed with HIV this June at the age of 49. My first lab results showed my CD4 count was 298 and my viral load was 262,000. I know I was HIV negative in November 2005, so I'm disappointed that my viral load is already so high. I'm planning to start taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) once I have a second set of viral load and CD4 count results. Given my initial lab results, how rosy does my future look?

    Is My HIV a "Pre-Existing Condition"?
    My health insurance is currently covered by my former employer's COBRA plan. However, it will expire eventually, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it does so. I'm particularly worried that my HIV will be considered a pre-existing condition by other insurance companies, and therefore any costs associated with it won't be covered. What should I do?

    Can I Be Fired Because I'm on Long-Term Disability?
    The company I work for approved my medical leave and short-term disability. Since then, however, my doctor pushed back the date of my return to work; as a result, I'm now on long-term disability. My employers say that they can fire me because of this change. Is this legal?

    What Are "HIV Mutations"?
    Can HIV mutations appear spontaneously, or do they only arise in response to HIV medications? I ask because my resistance test results show possible resistance to just one drug: Reyataz (atazanavir). Does this mean I can take all other HIV meds?

    Why Not Start Treatment Right Away After Testing Positive?
    I recently tested positive and have a CD4 count of 520. I have read a lot about when to start HIV treatment, and I can't see any reason to wait. I want to begin taking HIV meds now, to decrease my likelihood of developing AIDS. What, exactly, are the medical reasons for delaying treatment?

    Is It OK to Break Apart a Pill That's Hard to Swallow?
    I just started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), and I'm finding the pills difficult to swallow. Would it be OK to break them in half and swallow the two pieces separately?

    Can I Use Steroids If I'm Taking HIV Meds?
    I'm thinking of using steroids to bulk up, but I'm already taking HIV meds. Is there any danger from taking both at once?

    Unprotected, Insertive Anal Sex: What's the HIV Risk?
    I was the insertive partner during anal sex with another man who, it turned out, was HIV positive. After I found out he was positive, I decided to take a course of HIV meds to limit my chances of being infected. I started the meds about 20 hours after my sexual encounter. Still, I'm really worried. The guy said his viral load is low, but how great is my HIV risk?

    Is Sex Safe for My Negative Partners If I Pull Out Before Coming?
    I'm a gay man with HIV, but I don't want to tell my partners that I'm positive, and I don't want to stop having bareback sex. Could I still infect others even if I make sure to pull out before I come?


    Can Sex With a Virgin Cure HIV?
    I've heard that some people believe that having sex with a young virgin can cure a person of HIV. Is there any truth to this?

    Someday We'll Find It, the Raindrop Connection
    A man in Idaho, who claims to be a direct descendent of "ancient Mongolians," says he can cure HIV using something he calls the "raindrop technique." The cost is $600 per session. Do you think it's worth a shot?


    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the August 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Rembrandt"; 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.

    Connect With Others
    t The Body's Bulletin Boards

    Just Diagnosed? Don't Be Afraid
    (A recent post from the
    "I Just Tested Positive" board)

    "I acquired HIV in 1987. Take care of yourself and look at us old timers. I have raised my kids, graduated college, finally found a great job, and have eight grandkids. You can live a great life. Don't let people get you down, and be careful who you share your illness with. Always remember: You are a winner!"

    -- alive4216years

    Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!

    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.