April 27, 2009
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LIVING WITH HIV

 Is It Safe to Take Creatine With Atripla?
I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for more than a year and everything is going well. I started going back to the gym and now I'm thinking about taking creatine supplements to regain some weight I've lost. Is it safe to take creatine with Atripla?


 Which Anabolic Steroids Work for Weight Gain?
Could you suggest some anabolic steroids that might help me to gain weight?


Also Worth Noting: Sweepstakes: Win up to $100 From Amazon for Reading Our Newsletters!
As a special thank-you to all of you who are registered to receive TheBody.com's e-mail newsletters, we're giving away five Amazon.com gift cards worth up to $100 at the end of this month! Anyone who signs up for our newsletters before May 1 is automatically eligible, as is anybody who's already signed up. Read the official rules for more information!
HIV TREATMENT

 CNS Side Effects From Sustiva: Would Intelence Be a Smart Switch?
I am 61 years old and was diagnosed in September 2008. My viral load at first testing was 19,000 and my CD4 count was 331. My doctor immediately put me on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). By January 2009 my viral load was undetectable and my CD4 count had gone up to 509. Now for the problem: The Atripla is continuing to cause central nervous system (CNS) side effects. I still have vivid dreams and fogginess, and I've recently developed tinnitus that is really driving me nuts. My doctor suggested switching the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) in the Atripla combination for Intelence (etravirine). Would this be a wise move? Would I ever be able to go back to Atripla, considering that my HIV is not resistant to it?


 HIV Drug Resistance, Explained
Can you explain how someone's HIV becomes resistant to HIV medication? Can having sex with someone who has a different strain of HIV cause resistance?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
New to TheBody.com
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I am a 55-year-old male living in Australia. I was diagnosed early 2008 which makes me a relatively new addition to the HIV family. I am currently not working and have not since my diagnosis. This is the first time I have joined or reached out to an HIV forum, so please be patient with me as I am not confident in speaking about HIV yet. (I'm still pretty screwed up about the whole thing.) I am currently undetectable and I'm taking Reyataz [atazanavir], Norvir [ritonavir] and Kivexa [abacavir/3TC, Epzicom].

-- Mondo

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

Also Worth Noting: Blog For The Body: Love to Write? We Want to Hear From You!
TheBody.com is looking for talented, energetic writers to join our growing group of bloggers! If you're HIV positive and want to blog about your life, or if you work on the frontlines of HIV and want to share your thoughts and experiences, write us at bgoldman@thebody.com with a sample blog entry and a brief description of who you are and what you'd like to write about. Your sample entry should be no longer than 600 words, and your self-description should be no longer than 200 words. We look forward to hearing from you!
MIXED-STATUS COUPLES

 Three Months of Protected Sex With My HIV-Positive Boyfriend: What's the Risk?
My boyfriend has just been diagnosed HIV positive. I've been having sex with him for three months now as the "top" partner, and I've used a condom 100 percent of the time. He also gives me oral sex. Am I at risk for HIV?


 HIV-Negative Woman Receiving Oral Sex From HIV-Positive Man: How Safe Is It?
I'm 37 years old, I've been HIV positive since 2006 and I haven't dated since my diagnosis. I recently met a woman who is negative and told her about my status. I want to give her oral sex but was wondering about how safe it would be for her. Can you explain the risks?


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES

 Getting Dialysis and Taking HIV Medications: What's the Best Timing?
I have a friend who is HIV positive and on kidney dialysis. He has been told to take his HIV meds after his dialysis but he takes them before dialysis. Is there any harm in what he's doing?


HIV & FACIAL/BODY FAT

 Traveling to Brazil for Facial Fillers
I wanted to share my experience with PMMA (polymethyl-methacrylate) with your readers. I've been on HIV medications since 2001 and I'm originally from Brazil. Though I don't live there anymore, I went back to Brazil to have my butt cheeks filled with PMMA in 2004 and I'm going back next month to have the procedure done on my face. It's very affordable there compared to the U.S., and I think it's very safe. Of course, you have to use a reputable doctor, and there are many in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the April 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Citizen Pan," 1994; Elliot Linwood

Visit the April 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Mythologies," is curated by Anne Couillaud.
YOU & YOUR LABS

 Could My Viral Load Increase Be Caused by Drug Resistance?
I was diagnosed in July 2006 with a T-cell count of 90 and a viral load of 5,000. I was immediately put on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin), plus a drug to prevent pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP). Within a month, my viral load was undetectable and my T cells started (slowly) rising. My viral load has been undetectable for this entire period -- until this week's lab results, which show that my viral load has risen to around 184 copies. Is this a "blip" or am I developing drug resistance? I have never ever missed a dose since I started taking meds. I do fly internationally for work frequently (I live in San Francisco) and I always take my meds at bedtime, no matter what time zone I'm in. Could this be the reason my viral load went up? It would be lovely if my own doctor would answer some of these questions, but he just shrugs.


 Where Do T Cells Come From?
Where do CD4 cells (or "T cells") come from? Are we born with all the CD4 cells we will ever have, or do our bodies have the ability to make new CD4s?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Gay HIV-Positive Man in NYC Looking for Friends
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I was diagnosed over a year ago and am doing well. Friends have been very accepting and supportive but they cannot understand what I'm feeling. It would be nice to meet other HIV-positive men in NYC or anywhere for friendship, advice, chat, etc. E-mail or IM buddies would be great.

-- dkny

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

NEWS & VIEWS

 Why Do Physicians Only Recommend HIV Meds and Not Alternative Treatments for HIV?
I recently asked a question about alternative therapies for treating HIV and I went through the archive of questions about this. The answer across the board seems to be that any alternative therapy is pretty much bad, and the only therapy that's good is taking HIV medications. I'm not trying to sound like I think the world is out to get us, but with every answer I read, the conclusion is that HIV meds are the only thing that works -- to the great benefit of pharmaceutical companies. Are doctors open to something else besides handing out prescriptions for pills? How come we can't come up with a better solution -- like a cure, perhaps?


STRANGE BUT TRUE

 Attack of the Bloodthirsty Party Biter
At a party recently, a girl kissed me and then bit my lip very hard until it started bleeding a little. Apparently she liked that, because then she saw that I had a cut on my finger which was also bleeding a little, and she grabbed my finger and sucked the blood off that. My question is: Could I have gotten HIV from this girl? Maybe she bit herself in the mouth and mixed our blood together to try and infect me!






Activist Central

 Swine Flu
For the latest on swine flu and its effect on people living with HIV, check out TheBody.com's new swine flu section.


 Action Alert: Tell Your Senator to Co-Sponsor the Early Treatment for HIV Act!


 Write a Letter to President Obama to Support the Action Plan for Rapid Scale-Up of Routine, Voluntary Testing


 Register Now for AIDSWatch 2009: Go to Washington, D.C., April 27-29!


 Act Now to Stop Misleading "AIDS Charity"


 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!