July 6, 2009
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 Does Being Lean Reduce the Chance for Body Shape Changes?
I recently started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) -- so far so good. I stop eating or snacking at 8 p.m. and take the pill around 10 p.m. As a result of eating sensibly, not munching at night and reducing my beer intake, I'm becoming leaner. Does it make sense to be as lean as possible so that I don't gain weight with Atripla?

Also Worth Noting: Ask the Expert: Expert Returns to The Body's "Ask the Experts" Forums

Renslow Sherer, M.D.

Renslow Sherer, M.D., is back! After a brief hiatus, the forum on Drug Resistance and Staying Undetectable is up and running again -- and Dr. Sherer is on the job, answering questions about avoiding HIV drug resistance and keeping an undetectable viral load. Dr. Sherer is one of the leaders in the treatment of HIV -- not only has he been treating people with HIV since 1982, he's also an active researcher.

 Why Can't I Lose Weight or Feel More Energetic?
I was diagnosed with HIV six years ago. I started treatment almost immediately. My HIV is well controlled now, with a CD4 count in the 1,400 to 1,600 range and an undetectable viral load. I was also diagnosed with low testosterone, hyperlipidemia, bipolar depression, insomnia and anal dysplasia. My treatment includes Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa), as well as depression medications, Androgel and many other meds for my different conditions. After three years of a terrible depression, I am now working out. However, despite the exercise and a healthy diet, I can't seem to get the weight off and I am still so fatigued. Any ideas why this is happening?

 Making an HIV Medication Change After 11 Years
I've been on Viracept (nelfinavir) and Combivir (AZT/3TC) since 1998 when I became infected with HIV. For the last year, my doctor has been after me to try a different regimen. However, I haven't wanted to make any changes since my viral load has always been undetectable and I've always had high CD4 counts. My doctor wants to put me on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Lexiva (fosamprenavir, Telzir) boosted with Norvir (ritonavir). I'm fearful of changing meds, especially since I was doing so well, but I'm willing to do this since I recently experienced high lactic acid with my current regimen. Are there any side effects to Truvada, Lexiva and Norvir?

 Do Hemopurifiers Reduce Viral Loads?
From what I have read, a hemopurifier reduces HIV viral load by 70 percent. I read that it was being studied by the military and that clinical studies were being conducted in India. While the blood is being filtered through the hemopurifier, can the blood be electrified at the same time?


 Is the Anti-Seizure Medication Lamictal Bad for HIV-Positive People?
I was diagnosed with HIV one year ago. In March 2009 my CD4 count was 449 and my viral load was 67,900. I am not yet on treatment. In April 2009, a doctor prescribed the anti-seizure medication Lamictal (lamotrigine) to treat mild bipolar disorder. I experienced a range of side effects and my doctor decided that Lamictal should not be given to people with HIV. In May 2009, my viral load had skyrocketed to 1,752,534! Something seems to have altered my numbers dramatically. Can Lamictal have caused my viral load to soar to such astonishingly high levels?

Also Worth Noting: New Blog: Longtime HIV Advocate Shares His Perspective

Gary Bell

Back in 1987, Gary Bell was as misinformed about HIV as most everybody else in the U.S., believing that HIV only affected gay white men. When he met his first HIV-positive community-service client, a middle-aged, African-American mother of six, he realized that HIV -- and HIV stigma -- could affect anyone. For the last 14 years, he's headed BEBASHI (Blacks Educating Blacks About Sexual Health). As TheBody.com's newest blogger, he'll share his experiences as an HIV advocate and educator.
 Dealing With Atripla-Induced Dreams
Do you have any advice on how I can deal with the dreams associated with Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC)?

 Cured of Hep C Infection: Why Can't I Get Insurance?
I was treated for hepatitis C with Rebetol (ribavirin) in 2002 and was told that the virus was dead. I was retested one year later to ensure there was still no trace of the virus. Even though I've been cured, insurance companies still won't accept me because I once had hepatitis C. Is there anything I can do? Why doesn't the medical community make it clear that hepatitis C can be cured?


 CD4 Count Rose From 110 to 624 Within Two Months
I seroconverted about 10 months ago and had severe flu-like symptoms. Two months ago I started taking Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), Norvir (ritonavir) and Reyataz (atazanavir). My CD4 count rose from 110 to 624 and my viral load dropped from 8.2 million to 7,000 within two months! What complications, if any, can I expect from such a sudden and amazing CD4 count increase?

 Can a Drop in Platelets Cause a Drop in CD4 Count?
My 28-year-old boyfriend has been HIV positive for almost two years. His first lab test results, in January 2008, showed that his viral load was 10,000 and his CD4 count was 840. At his most recent tests, his CD4 count had dropped below 400 and although his viral load has fortunately not gone up, his platelet count has dropped to 50,000 over the past year and a half. Can having a low platelet count cause a drop in CD4 count? The doctors say he should start HIV therapy by the end of June. Would you also recommend that he start therapy?


 Risk of Condom Break With HIV-Positive Partner
During sex with my HIV-positive partner, the condom broke and he ejaculated inside of me. I tested negative after 12 weeks, but should I get tested again?

 Will an HIV-Negative Baby Born to an HIV-Positive Mom Always Have HIV Antibodies?
My wife and I are both HIV positive and we would like to have a baby (no point in sperm washing, I guess). If we managed to have a baby that is HIV negative, I understand that the baby will test positive due to antibodies. Will this positive test with zero viral load remain so for the baby's life, or will the antibodies leave the baby's system later in life?

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
In the Army and Just Tested Positive
(A recent post from the "HIV/AIDS in the Military" board)

I'm just wondering what the Army will do to me since I tested positive ... What can I expect from my chain of command? I am very worried I am going to lose my medical benefits and will not get any of the treatment I need.

-- saber01

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 Can You Get HIV From a Hot Tub?
I was given a handjob in a hot Jacuzzi tub, and I ejaculated in the tub. However, I noticed that about five minutes before I got in the tub, two guys were in the tub in roughly the same spot. What if they ejaculated in the tub also, and I ejaculated five minutes afterward -- if HIV were present in their semen, could it have gotten into me?

 HIV, Doorknobs and a Bleeding Nose
I had a nosebleed and for the rest of that day the opening of my nose was sore. While out walking, I put my finger on the sore part to check if the bleeding had stopped and on my finger there was a solid bit of blood that was not completely dry. What if I had previously touched a doorknob or something with HIV on it, and then transferred it to my bleeding wound? Could I be at risk for HIV?


Activist Central

 Take a Survey Addressing the Vocational Needs of HIV-Positive People

 Write to District Court Judge Bradley J. Harris, who sentenced a man to 25 years for not disclosing to another man he was HIV positive.

 Tell Congress to Make Health Care Reform Work for People With HIV/AIDS!

 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!