Hot Topics at The Body's "Ask the Experts" Forums, October 27, 2008
October 27, 2008
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Also Worth Noting: Hispanic Campaign: Video Features HIVers and Their Loved Ones

Damaries Cruz
Damaries Cruz is an HIV advocate and a 17-year HIV survivor. Cruz, her mom and other Hispanic HIVers and their loved ones share their stories in this extraordinary video project for Soy, a media campaign created to raise HIV awareness in Hispanic communities. Click here to view the video (in Spanish, with English subtitles) and learn more about the campaign!

HEALTH ISSUES

 Is Exercise Good or Bad for Someone With HIV?
I've heard conflicting information about exercise and HIV. I've read both that working out can cause a drop in CD4 count and that not working out may do the same thing. Which is true? How much exercise is too much for an HIV-positive person?


 My New HIV Meds Knock Me Out
I just started taking Sustiva (Stocrin, efavirenz) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and I feel completely knocked out. It may be partly due to some other health issues I've been going through, but I am dizzy, have memory loss, feel spaced out and there's a ringing in my ears. I can barely live with these side effects, much less work. What can I do? I live in a very remote part of Australia and there are no doctors here with HIV experience.


 Getting to the Bottom of Skin Problems
I have small, pus-filled bumps everywhere on my body. How can I find out what they might be, and whether they're related to HIV or my HIV meds?


 Did Serostim Help My Belly but Hurt My Face?
I've been on and off the growth hormone Serostim for about a year now. It helped reduce my belly fat drastically while also helping me gain back weight that I lost. However, it seems to have caused me to lose fat on my face. If I stop the Serostim, will the fat in my face be restored?


HIV TREATMENT

 What Hope Is There for a Cure -- or at Least Better HIV Meds?
Do you think HIV can ever be cured? Or, failing that, could HIV meds be developed over the next few years that are more durable and have fewer side effects?


 Timing Your HIV Medication Doses
How strict is the timing when it comes to taking my HIV medications? Is it OK to take them a little later, or a little earlier, than I'm technically supposed to? Also, if I'm taking two once-a-day HIV meds, should I take both at exactly the same time, or should I separate each dose by 12 hours?


 Same Meds, Different Regimen?
Is it better to take Sustiva (Stocrin, efavirenz) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) as two separate pills, or take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), which combines these two HIV meds in one pill?


 Were My Medications Ruined When I Left Them in My Car?
After picking up my HIV meds from the pharmacy, I forgot about them and left them in my car for seven days. Although the car was in a garage, it was warm out during that period (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). Is there a danger that I reduced the potency of my meds?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
How Can I Find Happiness?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I forgot that I was HIV positive, so much so that I wanted to find a man and get married. I wanted to have another baby, I wanted to have sex without a condom. Hell, I wanted to eat anything, I wanted to just live. Sometimes people look at me and tell me that I seem so happy all the time. ... [But] I hide the truth in my heart, in my body. This blood that runs inside of me is dirty and stained with sin. A sin that wasn't caused by me. How do I ask for forgiveness from this sin that I did not put upon myself? People don't know that I laugh all day, but when I go home and put my head on my pillow, I cry, I scream, I clinch myself in a ball and bawl. I don't know when I am done. I don't know because I fall asleep. And in my sleep I am happy again, joyful. I don't want to wake up. I hope it is like that when I die; if it is, then I don't want to come out of my sleep anymore.

-- Barbdoll

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

YOU & YOUR LABS

 Which Matters More: Viral Load or CD4 Count?
I started HIV treatment a year ago when my CD4 count was in the 400s. My viral load has been undetectable since my first month on meds and my CD4 count is 828. What's the more important gauge of how I'm doing on treatment: my viral load, my CD4 count or something else?


 CD4 Count Down After 10 Months on HIV Meds
I've been taking Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Sustiva (Stocrin, efavirenz) for the last 10 months. My CD4 count was 160, but now it's dropped to 90. What's going on? Does the fact that I was coinfected with hepatitis C (but cleared the virus after receiving treatment) have anything to do with it?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the October 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)," 1991;
Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Visit the October 2008 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "I Heart Douchebags," is curated by Mike Albo.
HIV TESTING & TRANSMISSION

 Marijuana and HIV Tests
I am a regular marijuana smoker who is about to get an HIV test. Can smoking pot affect my test results?


 Women, Toilets and HIV: Is There Any Risk?
Could females be especially at risk for HIV from using a public toilet, since there's a chance of contact with menstrual blood?


STRANGE BUT TRUE

 Pee Does a Body ... Bad?
I know I can't get HIV from drinking my HIV-positive sex partner's urine, but could I damage my liver -- or develop drug resistance, should I ever be infected and need to take HIV meds in the future -- due to trace amounts of HIV meds in this person's pee?


 HIV-Laced Condoms?
I have been getting e-mails about people "lacing" condoms with HIV by putting HIV-infected fluids inside the condom before somebody uses it. It seems like a hoax to me, but can this really happen?

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