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March 31, 2008
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV Treatment
  • You & Your Labs
  • Having a Baby
  • HIV Transmission
  • Other STDs
  • Strange but True
  •  HIV TREATMENT

    Am I Getting Enough Attention From My HIV Specialist?
    Since I was diagnosed with HIV two years ago, I have been seen by nurses and had lab tests every three months, but I've only had two brief check-ups with my HIV doctor. Is it OK to only see an HIV specialist once a year?


    Four Years With a Very Low (but Detectable) Viral Load; How Can I Tweak My Regimen?
    I've been on an HIV treatment regimen for four years. In that time, my CD4 count has gone from 44 to 450, but my viral load never reached undetectable -- it now hovers between 60 and 250. My doctor and I are debating how to change my regimen to get my viral load to undetectable. My viral load is too low for a resistance test, so how can I know what meds are best?


    Taking Fuzeon for Just Six Months: A Good Strategy for People With Multidrug Resistance?
    I was infected with a strain of HIV that's resistant to the three major classes of HIV meds. My doctor has proposed an experimental approach to my treatment. It involves not just a bunch of new medications, but also short-term use of Fuzeon (enfuvirtide, T-20) -- for only six months. Shouldn't I save Fuzeon for later, in case this regimen doesn't work? Would stopping Fuzeon after six months make me develop resistance to it?


    What's Mice Got to Do With It?
    I've read about new genetic research in mice, in which scientists were apparently able to transform regular immune cells into HIV killers. Sounds intriguing to me. What's your take?


    Can I Trade Zerit for Kaletra?
    I am currently taking Viramune (nevirapine), Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC) and Zerit (stavudine, d4T). Would it be all right for me to swap the Zerit for Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir)?
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      YOU AND YOUR LABS

    Viral Load "Blips" When I've Always Been Undetectable
    I've been positive for four years, and although I've never taken HIV meds, my CD4 count is over 1,100 and my viral load has always been undetectable -- until recently. Two recent labs showed a viral load blip of around 350, and this month my viral load was 97. Are these blips anything to worry about?


    Will Steroid Treatment Affect My CD4 Count and Viral Load?
    I'm supposed to get my viral load and CD4 count checked soon. My doctor prescribed me prednisone (a steroid) for three days to treat an inflammation in my throat. Will the prednisone affect my labs?
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     HAVING A BABY

    Do I Have to Get an Abortion If My CD4 Count Is 40?
    I just learned that I'm pregnant and HIV positive, with a CD4 count of 40. I scheduled an abortion because my doctor told me that pregnancy would make me very sick. What would happen if I chose to have my baby?


    How to Have a Child Safely When You and Your Partner Have HIV
    My partner and I are both HIV positive and on treatment. We want to have a child together. Would it be risky for us to simply have sex without condoms? If unprotected sex is a bad idea, are there other ways for pos-pos couples to conceive without using condoms?
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     HIV TRANSMISSION

    Pos-Pos Couples: Can the Top Catch Drug-Resistant HIV From the Bottom?
    My boyfriend and I both have HIV, herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV). I'm always the receptive partner when we have anal sex. Could my boyfriend catch my drug-resistant strain of HIV when we have unprotected sex?


    How Can I Have an HIV Viral Load if I Tested Negative?
    For the last 26 years I have only had oral sex, never anal sex. I have tested negative for HIV antibodies many times, but I got an HIV viral load test anyway and it showed I had a viral load of 25,000. Does that mean I'm actually HIV positive?
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     OTHER STDS

    I'm a Gay Man; How Can I Get the New HPV Vaccine?
    I'm a gay man and have only had sex a few times. I'm interested in getting the new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, but doctors keep refusing to give it to me, saying it's only approved for women. Are they right, or could someone like me benefit from the vaccine?


    How Do You Get Hepatitis C?
    I've been with my partner for a year, and he was just diagnosed with hepatitis C. Which do you think is the more likely way he got hep C: his drinking, his sexual history or some other way?
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     STRANGE BUT TRUE

    A Bad Withdrawal at the ATM
    I noticed a red stain that looked like fresh blood while using an ATM. I didn't touch the red stuff, but I fear that whoever left it there also got blood on the keypad. Now I'm a nervous wreck. Could I have caught HIV while getting my cash?


    It's a Red-Letter Day
    When I was looking through my mail today, I noticed smeared blood on a couple of envelopes. Could I have gotten HIV by touching them?
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    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Stop in and browse the full collection!
    "Untitled (From Love Mind)," 1992; Robert Flack
    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.