September 16, 2008
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 Is It Safe to Receive Rimming (Oral Anal Sex) From Someone With HIV?
I'm HIV negative, and I met an HIV-positive guy who wants to perform oral anal sex on me. I asked him about using a dental dam for protection, but he says we don't need to practice safer sex because there's basically no risk of him giving me HIV this way. Is he right?

 Can Magnetic Couples Get an "Emergency Pack" in Case of Accidental HIV Exposure?
I'm the HIV-negative half of a "serodiscordant" relationship (one positive partner, one negative partner; also known as a "magnetic couple"). I know that as long as my boyfriend and I have safer sex, my risk of HIV infection is really low, but I still worry about it sometimes. Last weekend we went camping out in the wilderness, and it got me thinking: What would we have done if I had been accidentally exposed to my boyfriend’s HIV while out there in the middle of nowhere, miles from a source of post-exposure prophylaxis (a course of HIV meds taken within 72 hours of an exposure to prevent infection)? Do doctors ever offer "emergency packs" of meds for serodiscordant couples to take on trips?


 Why Is It So Hard to Find (and Keep) Love When You're HIV Positive?
I've been HIV positive for six years now, and I just can't seem to maintain a relationship. Four weeks ago, I disclosed to a guy I really care about. We had been involved for three months (though we hadn't yet had sex), and I haven't heard from him since. Why is it so hard to find people who will accept someone with HIV? Should I try to find a way to make it work with this guy, or move on and start over yet again?

 Was One Snort of Meth One Too Many?
I am a gay man who was recently diagnosed with HIV. I'm on HIV meds, my viral load is undetectable and my doctor says I'm healthy. However, I was recently at a party and smoked and snorted crystal meth for the first time in my life. For days afterward, I had a headache, felt tired and had swollen glands. These symptoms went away, but now I'm feeling fatigued and having night sweats. Could I have done damage to my body by experimenting with this drug only one time?

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the September 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Noncompliance Plays Russian Roulette," 2001; Max Greenberg

Visit the September 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Sex, Drugs and Religion," is curated by Frank Spinelli, M.D.

 Newly Diagnosed and Already HIV Drug Resistant?
I was recently diagnosed with HIV and had resistance testing done. The results show that, out of 19 different HIV meds, I'm already resistant to two of them: Sustiva (Stocrin, efavirenz) and Viramune (nevirapine). How can this be possible if I've never taken any HIV meds, let alone those two?

 HIV Meds Not Working After Two Months
I'm taking care of a woman in her late 60s who recently started HIV treatment. However, after two months on HIV meds, she's actually getting worse: Her viral load is in the millions and her CD4 count is 200. What should we do?


 How Rare Are Facial "Bumps" on Sculptra?
I read in the last issue of "Hot Topics" about a man who received Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) injections for facial fat loss and developed a bunch of tiny bumps on his face. Just how common is this kind of side effect, and how long is it likely to last? I'm wondering if Sculptra treatment is really worth the risk for me.

 Help! I'm Growing in All the Wrong Places
I live in South Africa and have been HIV positive for 11 years. I exercise and eat healthily, but I can't seem to get rid of the fat on my tummy and upper back -- in fact, I keep *gaining* weight in these areas. Is there anything I can do to make the fat go back where I want it to be: in my hips and butt?

 What Drugs Can Treat AIDS Wasting Syndrome?
I've been HIV positive since 1992 and have wasting syndrome (i.e., I've lost more than 5 percent of my body weight). What can I do to regain weight? I've heard good things about a growth hormone called Serostim, but it's too expensive. Are there any alternatives?

 Reversing Male Breast Enlargement
My doctor has diagnosed me with male breast enlargement. My hormone levels are normal and among the medications I'm taking, Sustiva (Stocrin, efavirenz) seems the only likely culprit, since it is occasionally associated with this type of problem. How can I go about reversing my breast enlargement? Are there other drugs I can take to treat it?

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
The Sex Has Been Sucked Out of My Marriage
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

It's been almost a year now [since my diagnosis]. My wife is still with me, but it's like there is an invisible wall between us. We have talked about safe sex and condoms and all that goes with it. She has no interest in using condoms, so as a result we don't have sex at all. Needless to say, I'm depressed about this, but we can't come to any resolution. I know what you may think, but please don't judge her -- she's scared for me and also for herself. And we do love each other and will stay together, with or without sex. Anyhow, thanks for letting me vent.

-- impoz

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 Strategizing Meds to Eliminate Diarrhea
I've been on an HIV treatment regimen for the last eight months, and it's causing diarrhea. I'd like to switch to a regimen that's less likely to cause gastrointestinal problems, and my doctor is willing to work with me to make this happen. The question is: What should I switch to?

 Severe Shaking After Starting New HIV Meds
My husband just switched to Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) two weeks ago. Yesterday his hands started shaking in a way that reminds us of someone who has Parkinson's disease. Is this symptom the result of his starting Truvada? He's a long-term HIV survivor; he was diagnosed in 1986, and his last labs showed that his CD4 count was under 100 and his viral load was over 200,000.

 Lactose Intolerance and Protein Supplements
I used to take a whey protein supplement to help me bulk up, but since I was diagnosed with HIV I've become lactose intolerant. Are there alternative protein supplements I can take that don't include whey, which contains lactose? Will any of these supplements interfere with my HIV medications or run the risk of damaging my kidneys or liver?

 Do HIV-Positive People Age More Quickly?
I'm a 40-year-old HIV-positive woman. I have a host of health issues -- including chronic fatigue, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides -- all of which are apparently due to the effects of HIV or HIV meds. Many of these issues also happen to people as they age. Does this mean that HIV and HIV meds are making me age faster than I would if I were HIV negative?


 Getting Pregnant When You're Coinfected With HIV and Hepatitis B
I tested positive for hepatitis B in 2000 and HIV in 2005. I'm not on any treatment yet, but my CD4 count is very high (900) and my viral load is pretty low (1,700). Is it OK for me to have a baby?

 Hepatitis Vaccines for People With HIV
Are hepatitis A and hepatitis B vaccinations recommended for people with HIV?


 Attack of the Errant Toilet-Seat Pubic Hair
Before using a toilet in a public restroom, I noticed a pubic hair on the seat. I used some toilet paper to try nudging it into the bowl, but instead it fell the wrong way and landed on my foot -- it actually touched flesh, since I was wearing flip flops at the time! Could I have gotten HIV?

 Marijuana Paranoia
I recently smoked marijuana out of a glass pipe after someone who is HIV positive also used the pipe. I know that you can't get HIV through casual contact, but for the last three weeks I've been thinking constantly about this shared pipe. Is there even a chance I exposed myself to HIV?

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