March 30, 2009
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HIV TRANSMISSION

 Is Barebacking as an HIV-Positive Bottom Really Not That Bad?
I am 37 and have only been HIV positive for 16 months, so I'm new to all this. I have always been told, "Don't bareback -- you can get another strain of HIV and become resistant to your current meds." But how can porn stars -- and even my close HIV-positive friends -- continue to bareback without getting another HIV strain or even HIV drug resistance (they do, however, get other sexually transmitted diseases)? I have positive friends who have been doing this for years and they say they have stayed undetectable. I've also read some studies showing the risk is minimal. What is your take on all this?


 I'm an HIV-Positive Grandmother -- How Do I Protect My Grandchildren?
I am an HIV-positive female and I would like to know what precautions I should take around my baby grandson. I burned my finger slightly on the oven and before I put a bandage on it, he grasped my finger. Would this pose a danger to the baby?


 Condom Broke With HIV-Positive Partner: What's the Risk?
I'm HIV negative and around eight hours ago I had sex with an anonymous HIV-positive partner. I was the top and he was the bottom. I did use a condom, but the condom broke and I ejaculated inside of him. Should I start taking post-exposure treatment? What is my HIV risk in this situation, percentage-wise?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
When to Disclose?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I am HIV positive and I believe the right time to disclose is sooner rather than later, that is, if there is potential for romantic or sexual activity. If this new person is not going to be open to my status, then I would rather know this ... before feelings are hurt. I guess I am a bit scared of even considering dating someone who is negative, because of all the hassle and anxiety ... but then again, you really can't help who it is that you are attracted to and/or fall for. Just wondering if anyone else has dealt with the whole disclosing thing. What works? Is it possibly better to wait to disclose?

-- jemcd793

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MIXED-STATUS COUPLES

 What's the Risk of Giving My HIV-Negative Boyfriend Oral Sex (and of Disclosing My Status)?
I've been HIV positive for 15 years now. My CD4 count is normal and my viral load is undetectable, thanks to HIV medications. I live in a tiny Podunk town where HIV is not talked about. I recently met a young HIV-negative buck and we have the hots for each other. We are approaching that point where it will escalate to sexual activity and I must have the "HIV talk" with him. I want to perform oral sex on him and explain his risk to him. He is new to all of this, is not very sexually active and has no STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). I do not have any STDs either and my mouth is in good shape -- no cuts, sores or even cavities. Based on all this, can I safely give him a blow job without giving him HIV? And how do I disclose to him without chasing him away?

HIV TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS

 Hey Doc, What HIV Medications Are You Taking?
Dear Dr. Bob: Would you feel comfortable sharing what HIV medications you yourself use and what other things you do to keep healthy?


 Why Do I Feel Tired and Low?
Since I started HIV treatment, I feel very tired all the time. In addition, my libido has gone out the window. Is there anything I can do about this?


 Isentress and Body Shape Changes
I am currently on a regimen containing Viramune (nevirapine) and I'm thinking of switching to Isentress (raltegravir). Does Isentress cause body shape changes or lipid changes (high cholesterol and/or triglycerides)? I'm hoping to improve my lipids.

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the March 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Untitled," 1993; Bruce Wm. Witsiepe

Visit the March 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Liminal:Subliminal:
Sublime," is curated by Bernard Leibov.
UNDERSTANDING HIV LAB TEST RESULTS

 Amazing CD4 Count Results!
I have been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) since my diagnosis. I recently got my monitoring test results back and I am elated. My viral load is undetectable -- as it has been for over a year now -- but my CD4 count took a giant leap up from 1,200 four months ago to 1,640! How high can my CD4 count go? Can a high count be dangerous?


 My Boyfriend Infected Me -- Could He Have Known He Was Positive All Along?
I recently tested HIV positive. It turns out my boyfriend gave me HIV. My CD4 count is 970 and my viral load is 10,000. My boyfriend's CD4 count is 500 and his viral load is much higher than mine. If his CD4 count is 500, wouldn't that mean he has been infected with HIV for a long time? I am trying to figure out if my boyfriend has had HIV for a while and didn't tell me.

HEPATITIS

 Are There HIV and Hepatitis C Medication Interactions?
I am HIV positive and coinfected with hepatitis C. I am taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and Ziagen (abacavir) as well as peginterferon (a class of drugs that includes Pegasys and PEG-Intron) and ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol) for hepatitis C. Are there any interactions or cross-resistance issues I should be aware of between all these medications?

HIV PREVENTION & TESTING

 Is HIV Prevention Different in the Over-50 Crowd?
Do you know what strategies or efforts have been made to address HIV prevention in the over-50 crowd? What efforts do you think would be effective in this population?


 What's the Window Period for HIV Testing?
Is the window period for HIV testing three months or six months? I recently spoke to two HIV counselors and they said I should wait six months after my risk to get an HIV test. They use OraQuick Advance. However, last summer they advised me to get tested three months after my risk. Have HIV testing standards recently changed?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Just Diagnosed and Trying to Cope
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I was diagnosed two weeks ago. I am trying to hold it together by getting a case worker and a doctor. But that is just the easy part. Today, I felt nauseous and just out of my mind with disbelief. I want to live a long happy life, but at the same time I wonder "How can I live with this?" I feel like I am truly in a dream. No one in my family understands, although they know and support me. Also no one gay to understand that either. Consistently thinking and trying to find a way to just be OK. Don't know what to feel, how to feel. Work, dating, church, everyday life. Getting worried every time I eat something bad, and I have the worst sweet tooth. Just want to sleep and lay in bed until this dream is over.

-- christo

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STRANGE BUT TRUE

 Could My New Sex Toys Have Given Me HIV?
I recently purchased a dildo and other novelties from an online adult store. I used all the toys and even made sure to put a condom on the dildo. Now I'm freaking out because not long after using the sex toys, I became sick with flu-like symptoms -- a sore throat, backache and dry cough. I'm so worried because I rarely get sick! I then did some research and found out about acute HIV infection. What if someone tampered with my sex toys before they were shipped? What if I got HIV from these sex toys? Would you advise me to get an HIV test?




Activist Central

 Sign Up Now for AIDS Housing Summit June 3-5 in D.C.!


 Give Our Youth the Facts! Tell your senator to co-sponsor the REAL act.


 ART Initiation at <350 -- Call on WHO and UNAIDS to Save Lives!


 Volunteer at a Camp for HIV-Affected Kids


 Tell President Obama: No More Money for Ineffective Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs


  Congratulate Obama ... And remind him of his commitment to a National AIDS Strategy!