January 26, 2009
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 If My Life Is Great, Why Can't I Adhere to My HIV Meds?
What is wrong with me? I have been positive for four years. I went through a very hard time in my first two years of HIV treatment, but I changed all of that and am now doing great. I have the job of my dreams, a wonderful home and a precious son. I just can't seem to make myself adhere to my regimen. Worse, I'm avoiding my doctor because I know that he will be angry at my stupidity. Is this normal? Any advice on what I can do to change?

 Does a Diagnosis of Pneumonia Affect My Life Expectancy?
I have been on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for a year. In November 2008 my CD4 count was 465 and I had an undetectable viral load. However, I was recently admitted to the hospital with a bad case of pneumonia. How long will it take to recover from this? Does getting diagnosed with pneumonia affect my life expectancy?


 Generic Atripla?
Is there presently a generic version of Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) available in the U.S.?

 Storing Atripla: Will Cold Temperatures Kill My Meds?
I accidentally left a full bottle of Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) outside for a week when the temperature was in the 30s (Fahrenheit). Can I still use it, or should I discard it?

 Will Fish Oil Affect My HIV Med Regimen?
Would there be any detrimental effect to my regimen if I were to take a fish oil capsule at the same time as my HIV meds? Would it be better if I took fish oil at a different time of day? I'm currently taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC).

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the January 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Rubber Bands," 1988; Ken Goodman

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.

 Why Was I Kicked Off Sculptra Patient Assistance?
I was recently turned down for Sculptra (New-Fill, poly-L-lactic acid) patient assistance, which is provided by the makers of Sculptra to help people afford the treatments. Why have I (and everyone else in my doctor's office) suddenly been rejected? I've had eight Sculptra injections so far and need many more.

 Fixing a Flat Butt (in Mexico)
Do you know anyone who has had butt-filler injections done in Mexico? Do the effects of the injections last? Is there anyone in Puerto Vallarta who does the procedure?


 CD4 Count and Viral Load Explained: What's "Normal"?
What are the worst and best numbers for a CD4 count? Is it correct that under 50 copies is considered "undetectable" for viral load, while over 100,000 is considered "bad"?


 If You Already Have HIV, Why Is Safer Sex Important?
Why is it important to have protected sex with other positive people? Is it to safeguard against other sexually transmitted diseases? Or is it more to guard against being infected with a partner's potentially drug-resistant HIV?

 Is "Pulling Out" Safe?
I'm an HIV-positive guy and my partner is negative. If I pull out before I ejaculate, am I still putting my partner at risk?

 Can the "Finger Prick" HIV Test Expose You to HIV?
I work at an HIV clinic and people often ask: Is there a chance of contracting HIV at the clinic while getting tested for HIV? People are concerned, for instance, that they may take the rapid test -- which requires pricking the finger to get a blood sample -- and then they'll touch something in the clinic that may have an HIV-positive person's blood on it. What do you think: Is there any risk at all?

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Etiquette Rules When Meeting a Disabled Person
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I ran across this list in my morning reading. Good stuff. As a person who uses a power wheelchair to get around and who has an HIV-related cognitive disorder that causes me to speak slowly, have difficulty understanding conversations and have difficulty hearing, I find these simple rules refreshing.

-- ScotCharles

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


 What Does "Functional Cure" Mean?
What is a "functional cure" for HIV? I've read that it may be possible for scientists to develop a "functional cure" for HIV before a total cure (i.e., eradication of HIV from the body) is found.


 Lord of the Flies
I killed some flies with a sheet of paper and then used scissors to scrape off the remains. A day or two later, I accidentally cut myself with those same scissors and drew blood. What if those flies had HIV in them? Did I put myself at risk?

 Masturbation Bent My Penis!
I keep trying to avoid masturbation, but I can't help it -- when night falls, I just can't stop myself. The problem is that, lately, my penis has started to "bend" to the right. What's happening to me? What can I do about it?

Activist Central

 Support the Call for a National U.S. Strategy to Fight HIV

Now that U.S. President Barack Obama has begun his term, one of the major priorities for many HIV activists is urging him to create a nationwide strategy to fight HIV within the U.S. Join the call by signing amfAR's online petition and letting your Congressional representatives know how you feel!

 Push for the Freedom of Two Newly Imprisoned Iranian HIV Specialists

After months in detention, the Alaei brothers -- Iranian HIV specialists -- have been sentenced to prison in Iran for allegedly plotting to overthrow the country's government. Join the more than 3,000 people who have signed a petition calling for the Alaeis' freedom, write a letter to the Iranian embassy in the United States or put pressure on your Congressional representatives.

 Speak Out Against the Jailing of HIV Activists in Senegal

The eight-year prison terms recently handed down to nine gay men in Senegal have many people throughout the world fuming. To speak out against this injustice, you can contact Senegal's embassy in the U.S. by calling 202.234.0540 or getting in touch with your Congressional representatives.