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March 3, 2008
In This Hot Topics:
  • Pos-Pos Relationships
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • Health Problems in HIVers
  • Hepatitis & HIV
  • Understanding Your Labs
  • HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True
  •  POS-POS RELATIONSHIPS

    Could I Have Gotten My Partner's HIV Strain?
    Both my partner and I are HIV positive, but I'm the only one on meds. He hasn't really wanted to have sex since we were diagnosed. However, this weekend we both felt frisky, had oral sex and started to have protected sex. I noticed blood, though, and we stopped. Could one of us have gotten infected with the other person's HIV strain? Could my partner become resistant to the HIV meds I'm taking?
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     LIVING WITH HIV

    I Was Fired on the Grounds That "AIDS Can Be Fatal"
    Two years after I was diagnosed with advanced HIV disease, I'm now fit and healthy, and my viral load has been undetectable for more than a year. However, my employer of nine years has fired me, citing my ill health and the fact (according to somebody in human resources) that "AIDS can be fatal." Was I fired unfairly?


    Changing Time Zones With HIV Meds
    I take HIV meds twice a day. I'm about to go on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is three hours ahead of where I live. What is the best way for me to adjust my HIV treatment schedule and stay adherent while I am away?


    Vaccines, Travel and HIV
    I was recently infected with HIV, and I need several vaccinations for an upcoming trip abroad. Which types of vaccinations are safe for me, and which ones should I avoid?


    My New Health Insurance Has Made My HIV Meds Too Expensive
    I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for three and a half years. However, I recently had to switch health insurance companies. With my new insurance plan, I'm not sure I can afford treatment anymore. Is there any way I can reduce the cost of my meds?
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     HIV TREATMENT

    Two Decades Hovering Around 350; Can I Keep Putting Off Meds?
    I've been living with HIV for 20 years or so, and over the past decade my CD4 count has fluctuated between 250 and 500. It's currently just below 350. Do I need to start meds? I'm wondering if, since my CD4 count has always been pretty respectable, I might be more healthy than someone whose CD4 count dropped to 350 much more quickly.


    Can Intelence Replace Sustiva?
    I've been taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) for the past four years, even though I have resistance to it, because there weren't any other options for me. Now there's a new drug, Intelence (etravirine, TMC125), which has been approved for people with resistance to Sustiva and other NNRTIs. Could I replace the Sustiva in my regimen with Intelence?


    Can a Blood Transfusion Help Treat My HIV?
    If I get a large blood transfusion, could it increase my CD4 count by making HIV work harder to fight the HIV-negative blood I'm receiving?
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     HEALTH PROBLEMS IN HIVERS

    Will I Develop Body Fat Changes When I Start HIV Meds?
    I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the potential side effects of HIV meds, particularly lipodystrophy, before I start my first regimen. What percentage of people beginning HIV therapy experience significant fat loss or fat gain these days?


    Are My Meds Worsening My Neuropathy?
    I have gradually worsening peripheral neuropathy and wonder if any of the meds I'm taking are to blame. My meds include Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Viracept (nelfinavir), as well as a handful of other medications to manage other health conditions. If none of those drugs are to blame, is there anything else I can do to find relief? I've tried some neuropathy treatments, but amitriptyline did not help and Neurontin (gapabentin) made me suicidal.


    Why Did My Vision Become Strange After I Took Cialis?
    I'm an HIV-positive man on HIV treatment. I recently tried three different erectile dysfunction drugs: Cialis, Levitra and Viagra. After taking Cialis, I suddenly became extremely sensitive to light and lost my ability to see long distances. This didn't happen when I tried Viagra or Levitra. Could an interaction with my HIV meds have caused the side effect I got while on Cialis?
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     HEPATITIS AND HIV

    How Long Does It Take to "Clear" Hepatitis C Naturally?
    I've recently been diagnosed with acute hepatitis C. I'm also HIV positive, with a CD4 count of 900 and an undetectable viral load. How long will I have to wait to know whether my body will clear the virus on its own, without the help of medications?


    Choosing Your HIV Meds When You're HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfected
    Is Norvir (ritonavir) + Reyataz (atazanavir) + Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) a good HIV treatment regimen for someone who has HIV and hepatitis C, and whose liver health is getting worse?
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     UNDERSTANDING YOUR LABS

    Is It OK if My Viral Load "Blips"?
    My CD4 count has stayed close to 600 over the past six months, but my viral load was 151 last October before dropping down to undetectable in February. I've read that maintaining an undetectable viral load is essential in order to avoid developing drug resistance, but my doctor says that small, temporary increases in viral load aren't important as long as my viral load stays below 500. Is that true?
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     HIV TRANSMISSION

    My Husband Just Tested Positive; How Are the Kids and I Negative?
    I've been married to my husband for nine years, and we've had five children together. He started getting sick in July, and was diagnosed with HIV in December. I've tested negative, as have all of our kids, but I'm still worried about getting HIV. How is it possible that after all this time, none of us have HIV? What can we do to keep ourselves safe?


    Is Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Worth Taking?
    I had receptive anal sex a couple of days ago, and I think I might have put myself at risk for HIV (the condom may have broken). Is it worth it to take post-exposure prophylaxis meds? I've heard the meds can cause a lot of side effects, and I don't want to cause any permanent damage, especially since I don't even know how well they'll work.
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     STRANGE BUT TRUE

    Oh, You Want the HIV? That's in Aisle Four
    I used a shopping cart during a recent trip to the grocery store, and also borrowed a pen while I was in the checkout line. Then, when I was on my way out, I bit my lip so hard it started bleeding, and I touched the open wound. If the shopping cart or the pen had HIV on it, could I have become infected when I touched my bleeding lip?
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    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Stop in and browse the full collection!
    "Sunset," 1999; Donna Haggerty
    Visit the March 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "The Sublime Order," is curated by Letha Wilson.