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June 10, 2008
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Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the May 2008 Visual AIDS Gallery
"Paris Has Burned," 1995; David Abbott

Visit the June 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Alien Architecture," is curated by Tairone Bastien.
LIVING WITH HIV

 After Seven Years of HIV, My Diagnosis Has Finally Hit Me
I've been HIV positive for the past seven years, but I have always taken my HIV status in stride -- until recently. I'm now facing the prospect of starting HIV meds for the first time, and suddenly I'm scared, overwhelmed and feeling my mortality. I'm a 56-year-old, divorced, disabled woman. My family members stick their heads in the sand and say I should just get over it. I am finally facing exactly what this disease has done to my body, and yes, I'm feeling sorry for myself. What can I do to get through this delayed grieving process?



HIV TREATMENT

 My Doc Says I Shouldn't Get Pregnant While on Sustiva; Is There an Alternative?
When I started taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and a generic equivalent of Combivir (AZT/3TC), I was told that I should avoid becoming pregnant. What HIV medications are safe to take while pregnant?


 Starting Treatment With Combivir and Viramune
What do you think about taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Viramune (nevirapine) as a first HIV treatment regimen?



HEALTH ISSUES & SIDE EFFECTS

 Newly Diagnosed and Losing Sleep
For the three weeks before I tested HIV positive, I slept very poorly. Could this be because I was seroconverting? Will my sleep patterns go back to the way they were before I was HIV positive? If I start taking HIV medications, will that help me get a good night's rest?


 When Will Side Effects Kick In?
I started taking HIV meds nearly two months ago, but I haven't had any side effects yet. When should I expect them to start, and which ones am I likely to experience?


 HIV Meds and Excessive Gas
I've been experiencing an awful lot of gas buildup lately, and I'm passing more gas than I usually do. Could my HIV meds -- Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) -- have anything to do with it? Is there anything I can do to deflate?


 Treating Fat Loss in the Buttocks
In the past several years I have lost virtually all the flesh in my buttocks -- all I have left back there is hanging skin, and it hurts to sit down. I am desperate for a solution, and my doctor is no help at all. Do you know of any reliable source of information about this condition?



Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Nineteen Years Old and an HIV-Positive Mom
(A recent post from the "Women With HIV" board)

I recently was diagnosed HIV positive. I was really scared and didn't know what to do or think. I'm not scared of the disease itself anymore, [but] I have a one-year-old daughter and I am scared of leaving her. I am [also] scared of how to explain it to her when she gets older. ... I would like to know more about how HIV treatment affected you and how others have explained [their status] to their kids.

-- ally

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

YOU & YOUR LABS

 Iím Doing Well on HIV Meds; Could My CD4 Count Suddenly Drop Anyway?
I recently had a false CD4 count test that briefly had me thinking my CD4 count was just 28 (it's actually 387). Although the error was corrected, it made me wonder: Is it possible for your immune system to crash after several years of doing well on HIV treatment? Iíve been diligent about taking my meds every day, but are there times when that's not enough?


 Should You Avoid CD4 Tests During Daylight Hours?
Does a person's CD4 count change during the day? It seems as though my CD4 count ranges between 400 and 550 during the day, but when a CD4 test is taken at 8 p.m., the results range between 750 and 1,000. I've also heard it's normal for HIV-negative people to have low CD4 counts in the morning. Is all of this true -- and if it is, doesn't it mean that all HIV-positive people should get their CD4 tests late in the day?



MIXED-STATUS COUPLES

 Overwhelmed by My Husband's New HIV Status
My husband had what he calls a "one-time encounter" earlier this year, and now he's HIV positive. I'm so overwhelmed. Since he told me, I've felt angry, sad and betrayed, but I still love him and want to help him through this -- help us through this. Is there any advice or support you can give?


 My HIV-Positive Husband Won't Wear a Condom
My husband tested HIV positive three years ago, but he's insisted that we continue to have unprotected sex. Somehow I am still HIV negative. How is this possible? What should I do about my husbandís reluctance to wear a condom?



HEPATITIS

 Any Good Treatment News for HIV/Hep C-Coinfected People?
What are your thoughts on the new hepatitis C medications on the horizon? Can people who are coinfected with HIV and hep C look forward to better treatment outcomes on the drugs now in development?


 Should I Switch to HIV Meds That Will Better Fight My Hep B?
I have HIV and hepatitis B. Should I switch my HIV meds to a combination that might be more likely to fight both HIV and hep B at the same time?



HIV TRANSMISSION

 Is It Dangerous to Use an Oil-Based Lubricant?
I used an oil-based lotion to lubricate a latex condom. Could this have put me at a higher risk for HIV by damaging the condom?



STRANGE BUT TRUE

 From Her Lips to My Beer
I had drinks with a girl who's of Asian descent. She drank a little from my beer bottle and then gently kissed me, squirting some of the beer into my mouth. I immediately spat the beer back out, but if she had HIV, could I be HIV positive now, too? Or do you think the alcohol killed off the HIV?


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