January 12, 2009
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STRANGEST BUT TRUEST OF 2008: THE VERDICT IS IN

You have spoken, and we have a winner! (Or loser, depending on how you look at it.) Hundreds of you voted in our second annual "Strangest but Truest" survey, and chose which of our 10 nominees was the most bizarre post to grace TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" Forums in 2008.

Click here to find out which post won the most votes, and to view a full breakdown of votes in the survey. Thank you to everybody who voted!

LIVING WITH HIV

 Newly Diagnosed at 60
What is the life expectancy of someone diagnosed with HIV at age 60? I am 60 years old and I became HIV positive around the middle of 2008. My latest CD4 count was 622 and my viral load was 3,490.


 Multivitamins and HIV
What's your opinion about vitamin supplements such as K-PAX Immune Support Formula? I'm 28 years old and I was diagnosed with HIV in October 2008 with a CD4 count of 690.


 Long Work Hours and Aging With HIV
I'm 56 years old and have had HIV for six years. My viral load has been undetectable for most of that time and my CD4 count is around 1,000. I have two questions: One, do HIV-positive people over 50 still work or do most go on long-term disability? And two, will long work hours harm me over the long haul? I work a rotating 12-hour shift with some occasional 18-hour shifts.


 Does Steroid Use Affect the Immune System?
I was a steroid user until August; I mostly did cycles of Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate) and Sustanon (a mix of testosterone compounds). I found out six weeks ago that I was HIV positive. Can taking steroids compromise my immune system further? Will they affect my HIV medications when I start taking them?

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the January 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Untitled," c. 1990-1994; Angel Borrero

Visit the January 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Making Movies," is curated by Bill Thelen.
HIV TREATMENT

 Going Back on HIV Treatment After a Break: Which Meds Will Work?
I've been on a drug holiday for the last six and a half years. My CD4 count is now down to 385 and my viral load is in the 1,500 range. I think itís time to begin HIV treatment. How can I know what medications will still work against my HIV?


 Newly Diagnosed and Already Starting Meds?
My HIV diagnosis has just been confirmed, although I think it's likely my infection dates back a number of years. My CD4 count is 94 and I'm about to start treatment, even though I've been told that I don't have any "real symptoms" yet. Does this sound OK -- and is Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) a good medication to start with?


 Can Crestor and Kaletra Be Taken Together?
Since I started taking Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), my cholesterol and triglycerides have gone up. My doctor prescribed the statin drug Crestor, but I looked on the Crestor Web site and it said that Kaletra and Crestor should not to be taken together. How concerned should I be about possible side effects? Should I bring this up with my doctor?


 "ART" vs. "HAART"
I see the terms "ART" and "HAART" thrown around a lot when people talk about HIV treatment. Is there any difference between "ART" and "HAART" in a practical sense?

YOU & YOUR LABS

 CD4 Count Not Moving Up After Years of Treatment
I've been HIV positive since 2005. I started out with a CD4 count of 80. It climbed into the low 200s by 2006, but since then it has been hovering in the 230s with occasional spikes into the low to mid 300s. My viral load has remained undetectable while on my current regimen of Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). I've spoken to two HIV specialists, and they have opposite views on whether I should change my meds to try to raise my CD4 count. What do you think?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Wondering About Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I began taking PEP four hours after an HIV exposure. I was the top with an HIV-positive guy not on meds when the condom broke. ... Has anyone taken PEP and found that it was effective?

-- je5872

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

HIV & FACIAL/BODY FAT

 Long-Term Problems With Bio-Alcamid
Three years ago I got Bio-Alcamid (poly-Alkyl-Imide) injections in my cheeks. Now, one area has become a bit red, swollen and painful, and the filler has also crept up into the corner of one of my eyes. What should I do?

HIV/AIDS DENIALISM

There will always be people who don't trust HIV research or the experiences of millions of people. Yet the evidence is overwhelming that HIV medications continue to save millions of lives. Every now and then, however, someone will post a question like this one in our forums:

 Questioning HIV Medications
Why is it that despite the fact that you know that HIV/AIDS is a scam, you encourage people to continue taking HIV/AIDS drugs and dissuade them from taking multivitamin therapies?

Our experts can (and do) write great responses to these questions, but the best answers often come from you, our readers. After reading the post above, a man wrote to the forum to talk about his HIV-positive fiancee, who he says was often sick and weak before she was diagnosed with HIV and began treatment. Now, he says, she is healthier than almost anybody he knows. "Do meds help people?" he writes. "This is beyond argument to me."

STRANGE BUT TRUE

 New From Walgreens: Cream-Top Moisturizer?
I bought a bottle of body lotion from Walgreens but didn't open it for a few days. When I finally did, I noticed the lotion seemed especially thick on the top. My friend insisted that I shouldn't use the lotion; he says some people open up lotion bottles and put semen in them to try to infect people with HIV. Is this true?