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October 29, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • Mixed-Status Relationships
  • HIV Basics
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV Coinfection & Complications
  • HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True

    My HIV-Positive Friend Has Given Up on Sex
    I recently learned that a friend of mine is HIV positive. He says that he can never have a relationship again because he can't have sex, so "there is no point." I don't think he should have to feel this way. What can I do to help him?

    Unprotected Sex When Both People Are on the Same HIV Meds
    If two HIV-positive people are in a monogamous relationship and are taking the exact same HIV treatment regimen, do they still run the risk of HIV superinfection (infection with more than one HIV strain) if they have unprotected sex? It seems to me that, if both people are responding well to the same meds, then whatever strain of HIV one has, the other person's immune system would be able to handle it. What do you think?

    Advice for the Negative Partner in a Magnetic Couple
    I am an HIV-negative man and my female partner is HIV positive. We always use condoms, but I'm still anxious about transmission, which isn't really good for our relationship. My partner is in good health, although she refuses to get her CD4 count and viral load checked. How concerned should I be about transmission?

    HIV vs. AIDS
    What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?

    Why Do So Many People in the U.S. Still Die of AIDS?
    People keep telling me that HIV-positive people who take their meds consistently could potentially live a normal lifespan, yet thousands of people die from AIDS in the United States every year. What's going on?

    What Does "CD4 Percentage" Mean?
    Can you explain what "CD4 percentage" means? Should people with HIV keep track of their CD4 percentage along with their CD4 count? Also, what's the difference between CD4 percentage and CD4/CD8 ratio?

    How Long Before I Develop HIV Drug Resistance?
    I started my first antiretroviral regimen four months ago. I take all my meds on time and never miss a dose. Still, I'm afraid that one day my doctor will take a look at my latest lab report and tell me that I've developed HIV drug resistance. I started out with no resistance mutations; how long can I expect to remain on a regimen before I develop resistance to it?

    KP-1461: An HIV Cure?
    What do you think about the HIV drug in development KP-1461? I was pretty excited to hear that, in lab tests, it appeared to eradicate the virus. Do you think it could really be a cure for HIV?

    I Started HIV Meds Today; What Should I Expect?
    After gazing at my bottles of Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa), Lexiva (fosamprenavir, Telzir) and Norvir (ritonavir) for three days, I finally decided I was mentally prepared to start taking them. Two hours ago I took my first-ever dose of HIV meds. I still have some questions, though: How can I avoid the high triglyceride levels that some protease inhibitors can cause? Also, how long will it take for the medications to reach optimum levels in my body?

    Is Secomet-V a Real HIV Treatment?
    I live in South Africa and know a lot of people who are HIV positive, including my own brother. There is a product available here called "Secomet-V," which I've read can increase CD4 counts. Its label claims it "helps in overcoming viral infections." Is this a valid treatment for HIV, or is it a fraud?

    What Should Positive Folks Know About Drug-Resistant Staph Infections?
    I've heard a lot lately about the spread of drug-resistant staph infections in the United States. What does this mean for HIV-positive people?

    Did My CD4 Count and Viral Load Change Because of a Staph Infection?
    Three weeks before my last set of lab tests I developed a drug-resistant staph infection. My doctor prescribed Zyvox (linezolid) and a tetanus shot. When I got my next set of labs back, I found that my CD4 count and viral load had changed a lot since the last set of tests. Could this change be from the staph infection and subsequent treatment, or could I be resistant to my meds?

    Sculptra No Longer Works for My Facial Wasting
    I had good initial results using Sculptra injections to fill in my facial wasting, but touch-up injections aren't making any difference. My dermatologist and I are baffled that Sculptra is no longer working. What could be the reason -- and is there another product I can try?

    Diagnosed Late: Should I Worry About Immune System Damage?
    When I was diagnosed with HIV, my CD4 count was already below 100 and my viral load was off the charts. I'm on treatment and my CD4 count is now in the 500s, but I wonder: Do my low initial labs mean that I sustained immune system damage? In spite of my improved CD4 count, could I be at greater risk for other illnesses?

    Will Isoniazid Harm My Liver?
    I just tested positive on a tuberculosis skin test. I'm considering taking isoniazid (INH) to clear the infection, but I'm worried because I've heard that INH damages the liver. Is a 29-year-old likely to experience liver problems while taking INH?

    What's My HIV Risk From a Few Moments of Unprotected Anal Penetration?
    I have been screwing this guy for the last few months and we have always used condoms. About two weeks ago, one thing led to another and he penetrated me anally -- and unprotected. After a minute I came to my senses and had him stop. He didn't cum, but I am concerned about what happened. Do you think this situation warrants testing?

    Could My Couch Give Me HIV?
    Instead of just masturbating with my hand, I've been using a plastic bag filled with lotion. I stick the bag between the couch cushions to simulate sex. Does my solo routine put me at risk for any diseases?

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the October 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Woman Wrapped With the Sun," 1983; Mark Lida
    Visit the October 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Many Lands," is curated by Allison Hawkins, a Brooklyn-based artist.

    Listen to the Latest Research
    From ICAAC 2007
    And IDSA 2007

    Photo Collage of HIV Experts at IDSA 2007

    Browse's extensive, multimedia coverage of ICAAC 2007 and IDSA 2007, two large medical conferences that featured new studies on everything from new HIV meds to the latest on HIV/hepatitis C coinfection.

    One-on-one interviews, audio files, study abstracts and comprehensive summaries: They're all available at's thorough coverage of ICAAC 2007 and IDSA 2007!