June 1, 2009
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HIV TREATMENT

 What Can Be Done for "Forgotten Patients" With Multidrug Resistance?
I am one of those "forgotten patients" whose HIV is resistant to many meds -- even Isentress (raltegravir). My virus is also dual/mixed, which means I have no options besides TaiMed's ibalizumab (TNX-355, a fusion inhibitor in phase II trials), but they rejected me for their study because I don't have other drugs to combine it with. What am I going to do? I feel like the few of us left with multidrug-resistant HIV are going to be forgotten and die without help. Any compassionate programs out there? What are the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and AIDS researchers doing for us, the forgotten few?


 Is Zocor Safe for HIV-Positive People?
Is the cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor (simvastatin) safe to take with the HIV medication Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir)? One doctor said yes, but another doctor said to stop the Zocor at once because an interaction between the two meds could cause a heart attack!


Also Worth Noting: HIV Retreats: A Little-Known Way to Meet Other HIVers
Are you looking to connect with other HIV-positive people in a supportive environment? One option is to go on an HIV retreat. Retreats range from carefree holidays to educational weekends. There are retreats beachside, in the mountains and in the middle of the biggest U.S. cities. They're geared for the newly positive as well as longtime HIVers just looking for a chance to unwind. Many retreats are free, low-cost or provide discounts to people in need.
LIVING WITH HIV

 A Progress Report on Entry Into the U.S. for People With HIV
Is it easier for HIV-positive people to enter the U.S. under President Obama? I need to transit Hawaii for only two days each way while traveling from Australia to Canada. I will be carrying HIV meds in my carry-on and am worried about being stopped at customs as I will be traveling with friends who are unaware of my situation.


 Should I Disclose to My Optician Before Sharing Contact Lenses?
I need contact lenses and may be using trial lenses that are shared with other people. Should I tell my optician I'm HIV positive? Is there any transmission risk from sharing lenses?


 How Long Can I Expect to Live With HIV?
I am 58 years old. My viral load has been undetectable for 10 years, my T-cell (CD4) count is 728 and I've had no opportunistic infections. I have seen several posts recently referring to a European study that revealed life expectancy at late 50s to 60s in positive patients that have been on HIV meds for extended periods of time. Should I expect this to be my prognosis, and look forward to just a few more years of gradually deteriorating health?


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES

 Anal Cancer Testing for HPV-Infected HIVers?
I've been following the news of Farrah Fawcett's anal cancer struggle. I heard one doctor on CNN say that people with HIV and HPV (human papillomavirus) are at higher risk for anal cancer. I am a 35-year-old HIV-positive gay male. I experienced a minor battle with anal warts at one time. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is in the 575 to 675 range. I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for three years now. When should I insist on anal cancer and colon cancer testing due to my increased risk factor?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the June 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Untitled (Innocence) (II)," 2001; Hamlet Manzuetta

Visit the June 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Living Better," is curated by Craig Willse.
HIV IN THE WORKPLACE

 Going Back on Private Insurance: Still Confused About the "Pre-Existing Condition" Clause
Since being diagnosed in 2004, I have been fortunate to get my HIV meds through a state HIV medication program while being employed part-time. I am extremely eager to return to my profession and previous income. I may have a full-time job opportunity in another location that will allow me to enroll with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Two questions: 1) Can I be denied coverage; and 2) How do I manage the pre-existing condition clause when I apply?


HIV & FACIAL/BODY FAT

 Discrimination Because of Facial Lipoatrophy
I have lipoatrophy in my face. I recently got a job in which I have to schedule appointments with a city agency for inspections. However, when I tried to schedule an appointment, I was told by the person at the city agency that he did not want to see my face more than once a week. I was so upset! Do you have any recommendations for low-cost facial fillers?


 How Permanent Is Bio-Alcamid as a Facial Filler?
I've heard that Bio-Alcamid (poly-alkyl-imide) is a permanent facial filler, but that due to facial tissue movement it may not be 100 percent permanent. I've heard that it may last for eight months; others have said it could last for three to five years. What do you think?


 Belly Bulge With Isentress or Truvada?
I recently switched from Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir) to Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) due to elevated triglycerides. I believe I am experiencing a pretty rapid increase in intra-abdominal fat. I can feel lots of pressure below my ribs and have even had some shortness of breath when exercising due to this pressure. Yikes! Wouldn't it be better to go back to Trizivir? How can this be healthier?


NEWS & VIEWS

 Sounding Off on Criminalization of HIV
I was reading the article about the Iowa man sentenced to 25 years because he didn't disclose his status. [Click here to read TheBody.com's article on the case.] If we continue to criminalize HIV, nobody will be willing to get tested for HIV and the consequences could be devastating. Why is it that people end up in jail for not disclosing that they have HIV, but that's not the case for similar dangerous viruses like hepatitis or HPV (human papillomavirus), which can cause cancer?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
A Little Nervous
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

Newly diagnosed. My numbers have been great from blood work. My viral load has been below 14,000 each time and my CD4 was around 650 the first time, and 764 most recently. These are good numbers, but I'm a bit torn over when to start medication. My initial instinct was to wait as long as I could. My doc says numbers are good, have a nice summer, we'll test again in September and see where you are at.

I'm just unsure now, and a little nervous that not getting on medications will result in more damage to my immune system. Anyone have any thoughts or experience that might be helpful for me?

-- tommyga

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

HIV TRANSMISSION

 Chances of Superinfection in a Monogamous, HIV-Positive Heterosexual Couple?
Is superinfection possible between a monogamous HIV-positive man and woman? My wife started HIV treatment three years ago when her CD4 count dropped to 13. My viral load is 722 and my wife's viral load is 520. We had unprotected sex on several occasions during the time she was on meds and I was not. After I started taking HIV meds, we again had unprotected sex in an attempt to have a baby. If we stay faithful to each other, what are the chances that we could get sick due to superinfection?


 Is It Sufficient to Take Truvada After a Possible Exposure to HIV?
I think I recently had an exposure to HIV, though the status of the person who may have exposed me was unknown. I presented at the hospital 12 hours after exposure and was given Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) as the sole medication to prevent HIV. Do you think it's enough to just take one medication or should I be insisting on a prescription for another medication?


STRANGE BUT TRUE

 How Is Magic Johnson "Cured"?
I just don't understand how Magic Johnson is cured of HIV which kills millions of people globally. How did he get the cure, but so many others are left in the dark? If it's a money issue, shouldn't they just put a price on the cure and sell it publicly?


 Can My Own Mr. Happy Give Me STDs?
Can I get any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from sucking on my own penis?




Activist Central

 Tell CVS: Don't Restrict Access to Condoms!


 Endorse the International Declaration on Poverty, Homelessness and HIV/AIDS


 Speak Out Against the Syringe Funding Ban!


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


 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


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