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August 18, 2008
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LIVING WITH HIV

 Just Diagnosed: How Long Will I Live?
I was just diagnosed with HIV this year and I'm freaking out. How long can I truly expect to live?


 Can I Become Infected With a Second Strain of HIV?
I have been HIV positive for a year now. Over the last two months, I've had unprotected sex with two people, both of whom are also HIV positive. We didn't use condoms, and I bled during sex. However, both of them are on HIV meds and have an undetectable viral load. What are the odds that I got reinfected with their strain of HIV?


 Is Drinking a Few Glasses of Wine a Day Safe While on HIV Meds?
I have a CD4 count of 800 and a viral load less than 50, and I'm very active (I run five times a week). I take my Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) nightly with a big glass of water, but I also drink a fair amount of wine or beer every week. How much alcohol is it safe for me to drink while taking HIV meds?


 Recommended Supplements for HIV-Positive People
Is there a list of vitamins and minerals that are recommended for people to take in addition to their HIV medications? Where can I buy these supplements cheaply?



MIXED-STATUS COUPLES

 How Can I Reassure My Negative Partner About Safer Sex?
I am HIV positive, and the love of my life is negative. Since I tested positive, he's been scared to even kiss me, much less have sex. He's convinced that even condoms won't protect us. How can I ease his fears?



Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the August 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"These Eyes" 2000; Enrico Filippi

Visit the August 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Medicine Show," is curated by Billy Miller.
HIV TREATMENT

 Taking a Break From HIV Meds
What would be the worst thing that could happen if I were to take an HIV drug holiday? Also, what's the best way to approach my doctor about the possibility of taking a treatment break? I'm worried he might not react well at all.


 Figuring Out if You Can Take a CCR5 Inhibitor
How can I know if my HIV is susceptible to CCR5 inhibitors? What percentage of HIV-positive people have the type of virus that would respond to CCR5 inhibitors?


 Twelve Years on Same Regimen -- Any Reason to Change?
Are there any drawbacks to being on the same regimen for an extremely long time, even when supposedly newer and better HIV meds have come out? I've been on Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Viramune (nevirapine) for 12 years.


 What Meds for Treatment-Experienced HIVers Will Come Down the Pipe Next?
Are there any drugs for treatment-experienced HIVers that are expected to be approved anytime soon?



COMPLICATIONS OF HIV & HIV MEDS

 Facial Wasting: Caused by Aging or HIV Meds?
I started HIV meds five months ago, and although the drugs I'm on are not supposed to cause facial wasting, I appear to be one of the unlucky ones. My eyes are sinking and my cheeks have no fat left on them. However, I am also 49; how much of this might be a symptom of normal aging rather than facial wasting?


 Does Niacin Play a Role in Facial Wasting?
I just purchased a niacin supplement called Nialor. However, a friend said he heard that niacin might have an effect on facial wasting. Is this true?


 Is Alcohol Making My Skin More Yellow?
I have been on Reyataz (atazanavir) and Norvir (ritonavir) for three years. I've had HIV for 21 years and have never been ill, but my skin is yellow because of the Reyataz. Could alcohol consumption make this yellowing worse?



Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Should I Ditch My Dreams of Becoming a Dentist?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I decided to go for a dental career, but now I am seriously reconsidering this, [since I'm afraid] people might stop coming to me if they find out I am HIV positive. It's a lot of money to put forward: $300,000 or more. I have researched and learned I do not have to disclose my status unless there's an exposure. I would like to disclose, but I know it would be unwise to do so. Any advice? Should I pursue this career path at all? Anyone know an HIV-positive dentist?

-- doglove

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

YOU & YOUR LABS

 The Benefits of Being Undetectable
After three months on HIV meds, I've finally reached an undetectable viral load. However, I don't understand what the benefits are of being undetectable. Can you explain? Will it help decrease the likelihood that I'll infect someone who's HIV negative?



NEWS & VIEWS

 How Will Studying Elite Controllers Help Me?
A researcher named Bruce Walker is doing a study of elite controllers -- people whose bodies are able to control their HIV infection without their having to take HIV meds. That's all well and good, but it seems to me that this kind of research won't help us find a cure for HIV -- or even a new form of treatment -- during my lifetime. So what's the point of Walker's research?



STRANGE BUT TRUE

 The Story of the Homeless Man, the Cigarette and the Nightclub
I was standing outside a posh nightclub in San Francisco when a homeless guy came up to me and asked me for a cigarette. I gave him one, and he then tried to sell me some drugs. I refused, but gave him another cigarette and shook his hand. I then realized that I had a small cut on my finger and a canker sore in my mouth. What if he had HIV and it got into the cut on my finger -- or if the HIV transferred to my cigarette and entered into my canker sore?



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