June 15, 2009
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LIVING WITH HIV

 What Does It Mean to Properly Use a Condom?
You always state that condoms provide effective prevention when used "correctly and consistently." My question to you is: What do you specifically mean by this?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds


 Are Androgel and Striant Interchangeable?
Do you feel the hormone replacement drugs Androgel and Striant are interchangeable for short-term usage?

Nelson Vergel responds


Also Worth Noting: This Positive Life: A Long Night's Journey Into Day

Jimmy Mack

When Jimmy Mack discovered he was HIV positive, it was 1987, and an HIV diagnosis was essentially a death sentence. Instead of going to a doctor, he dived into cocaine and alcohol. His journey out of addiction was difficult, but Jimmy has been clean and sober for more than 15 years -- and he's got an undetectable viral load to boot. He's also happily partnered with an HIV-negative man. "Today you can live a long, healthy, normal life with this disease," says Jimmy. Read his inspiring story.
JUST DIAGNOSED

 Just Diagnosed With a CD4 Count of 110
I'm a 22-year-old male and I just found out I'm HIV positive. I went to the doctor today for my initial results and he told me that I have a CD4 count of 110. My fiancée, who is also HIV positive, has a CD4 count of 800. Am I a "goner" with such a low CD4 count?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds


 Newly Diagnosed With Low CD4 Count and High Fever: Should We Wait for a Specialist?
My partner and I both found out recently that we are HIV positive. His initial blood tests came back yesterday with a CD4 of 110. Last night he was really hot and this morning he coughed so much he vomited. The doctor said we have to wait two weeks for an HIV specialist to fly up to our area before my partner can start taking HIV meds, but I'm worried about him now. This looks more serious to me than it's being treated at our local sexual health clinic, where the clinic staff is afraid to shake our hands. What should we do?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds


HIV & FACIAL/BODY FAT

 Is There Any Test to Diagnose AIDS Wasting?
I have been HIV positive for 19 years. I am six feet tall and weigh about 160 pounds, and I am nothing but skin wrapped around bones. What can I do?

Gerald Pierone, M.D., responds


 How Can I Be Sure to Avoid Body Fat Loss and Facial Wasting?
What's the most proactive approach someone with HIV can take to avoid facial and body wasting?

Gerald Pierone, M.D., responds


SWINE FLU & HIV

 Are There Any Special Precautions for Someone With HIV to Be Aware of When It Comes to Swine Flu?
Is there anything about the swine flu that HIV-positive folks should be aware of other than the usual precautions for avoiding the flu?

Joseph McGowan, M.D., responds


 Are Swine Flu Precautions Necessary for a Mexican Cruise?
I will be taking a cruise to Mexico in a week. Considering the recent outbreak of the swine flu, should I seek Tamiflu (oseltamivir) or any other preventive treatment from my HIV specialist before going?

Joseph McGowan, M.D., responds


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.
YOU & YOUR LABS

 What Could Cause a Huge Spike in Viral Load?
Six months ago my partner's CD4 count was about 850 and his viral load was about 15,000. However, a few days ago we found out that although his CD4 count has remained stable -- it's 800 -- his viral load is now over 1 million. He is not on HIV meds. His doctor is telling us not to worry until his next set of labs in three months. What could potentially have caused such a large viral load jump?

Mark Holodniy, M.D., responds


HIV TRANSMISSION

 Any News on Viral Load and the Risk of HIV Transmission?
What's the latest scoop on HIV viral load and the risk of HIV transmission? Was the Swiss Study correct?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds

Click here to read TheBody.com's latest article on this topic.

 Thoughts on the Criminalization of HIV
Dr. Frascino, I've read all the recent reports about people with HIV going to jail for exposing their partners to HIV. I know you're against the criminalization of HIV. But how do you separate the people who just don't care about the lives of their partners from the basically good people that may have just made one mistake?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds


 Can an HIV-Positive Baby Be Born to an HIV-Negative Mom?
My husband and I are in a magnetic couple: He's HIV positive and I'm HIV negative. We used sperm washing and in vitro fertilization to safely conceive, and now we're about to have a baby. I've tested negative throughout my pregnancy and we practice protected sex 100 percent of the time. The clinic where we had the sperm washing, however, told us to test the baby for HIV right after birth and then at three months and again at six months. Are those tests really necessary? Is it ever possible for a negative mother to give birth to a positive child?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Feelings of Anxiety When My Labs Came Back
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I tested HIV positive March 20 and my laboratory results arrived by post today and brought back feelings of fear and anxiety. Just seeing the words "viral load" scares me -- the fact that I'm not sure what's going on inside my body. I guess I shouldn't complain: My CD4 count is 1,035 and my viral load is 10,299! That's good ... right?? Does anyone else find getting the results a difficult moment?

-- Dreamer76

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STRANGE BUT TRUE

 Can You Get HIV by Stepping Into HIV-Infected Semen?
I was walking in Las Vegas in some really thin foam sandals. I stepped on what seemed to be semen. The bottoms of my feet are fairly dry and peeling. I don't remember if I felt my foot get wet, but certainly my sandal was. If my foot slightly slipped out of my sandal and onto the supposed semen, would this be an HIV risk if in fact it was HIV-infected semen?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds


 Can You Get HIV From a Fall Into a Ditch?
I fell into a ditch as I was walking in Bangkok, Thailand. I scraped my legs and they were bleeding. What if someone else also fell there and they were HIV positive? I am really worried and want to get tested immediately!

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds




Activist Central

 Tell Abbott That We Will Not Accept a High Price for Their New Norvir!


 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!