July 27, 2009
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BEYOND MEDICATIONS


 Are There Interactions Between HIV Meds and Omega-3 Fish Oil or Flaxseed?
I have borderline high cholesterol. I'm taking Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). I take omega-3 fish oil and flaxseed with each meal two to three times a day. I also take my HIV meds in the evening about 45 minutes after dinner. Are there any interactions between these two supplements and my HIV meds that I should worry about?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Doctor Told Me I'm a Long-Term Nonprogressor -- Can This Be True?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

My first test results came back and were very good. My HIV specialist asked me what my nationality was. When I told him Scots Irish he told me that makes sense to him. Evidently many people with northern European ancestry have a defective gene that makes it more difficult for HIV to get a firm hold on the body. (The same gene evidently makes you more susceptible to the West Nile virus). My question is how many of you have been given this glimmer of hope titled long-term nonprogressor, only to be disappointed later when it turns out to not be true? My doctor commented on my lack of emotion to the news. I just can't bring myself to put any hope in his theory this close to the original diagnosis.

Anyone out there like me? Being in a rural place is hard and I could use some people to e-mail with.

-- dean661

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For more on HIV nonprogressors, browse through TheBody.com's collection of articles.

Also Worth Noting: This Positive Life: A Lifelong Journey With HIV

Sarah

"I can't say that I've fully processed my HIV diagnosis because it has affected me in different ways at different stages of my life," says Sarah, who has been living with HIV her entire life. Growing up in the 1980s in a small, conservative, religious community, Sarah faced all the burdens of being an HIV-positive kid in an ignorant world. Sarah spoke candidly with TheBody.com about how HIV took away part of her childhood. Now a grown, married woman herself, Sarah hopes to one day reach out to HIV-positive children.
HIV TREATMENT


 Is Atripla and Isentress a Good Combo? Is It OK to Miss Doses?
I am on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and Isentress (raltegravir) after being on Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir) for seven years. During my last five years on Trizivir, I had a viral load of 5,000 but my CD4 count continued to climb from 200 to 1,000. Should I not have switched? After one month on Atripla and Isentress, my viral load was undetectable. After two more months we dropped the Isentress. Six months later my viral load climbed to 30,000, though my CD4 count was still about 1,000. We added Isentress again and three weeks later my viral load is 820 and my CD4 count is 1,044. However, I have been missing doses at least once, sometimes twice a week. Is this a problem?


 Should My 6-Year-Old Be on HIV Meds?
My 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with HIV eight months ago. I adopted her when she was only 4 days old, and she was diagnosed when the doctor was looking at something else totally unrelated. She is in great health. Her CD4 count is 1,130 and her viral load is 4,300. I have a wonderful doctor for her who is saying that it's OK not to start medications until her viral load and CD4 count start to get worse. Do you agree?


YOU & YOUR LABS


 How Could My CD4 Count Have Fallen So Rapidly?
I tested HIV positive in December 2008. My first CD4 count was 820 and my viral load was 17,000. I did another test in March 2009 -- my CD4 count was 808 and my viral load was 4,500. In June I tested again -- my CD4 count had fallen to 468 and my viral load had gone up to 62,000. I was not sick -- not even with a cold. How could this have happened?


 How Low Can My Viral Load Go?
I was told by my case manager that my viral load won't drop lower than what it is now (it's 48 now). Is that true?


Also Worth Noting: Two New Blogs: New Bloggers Share Their Passions
TheBody.com is bursting with new bloggers to fit anyone's interest! Last week we launched the blogs of two very different HIV activists. In his first blog entry, Thomas DeLorenzo tells the poignant story of his love affair with an HIV-positive immigrant -- and how they "fought the legal obstacles, the distance, and yes, the virus." Meanwhile, TheBody.com's own editorial director, Bonnie Goldman, rails against the dwindling passionate voices in HIV activism since the 1990s in her brand-new blog.
COINFECTIONS & COMPLICATIONS OF HIV/HIV MEDICATIONS


 Is It Advisable to Continue Antiretrovirals During TB Treatment?
I was just diagnosed with tuberculous (TB) meningitis. While taking TB treatment, should I continue with my HIV medications? I'm on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin).


 When Will My Fatigue Go Away?
I was infected with HIV in autumn of 2003 and was diagnosed in January 2004. I started HIV meds 18 months ago and am now on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). My response to HIV meds has been good -- my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is above 900. I feel fine, except that since my diagnosis I've started sleeping more and more. Nowadays I usually sleep nine to 10 hours every night, and I also need at least three hour-long naps during the day. Altogether I sleep as many as 12 hours every day and I often still feel tired. My HIV doctor has checked my hormones and I see a psychiatrist who treats me for depression. I don't take other drugs besides my HIV meds, I eat well and I try to exercise. This condition has really started to get on my nerves, and it has affected both my job and my social life. Will it ever change?


 Does Atripla Offer Any Protection Against Hepatitis B?
My doctor told me that Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) has some protection against hepatitis B and/or that it can kill the hepatitis B virus. What is your take on this?


 Interferon and Ribavirin: Do These Hep C Meds Have an Effect on HIV?
I'm coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C and am midway through hepatitis C therapy with interferon (Alferon N, Roferon-A or Intron A) plus ribavirin (Rebetol, Copegus). My viral load has always been undetectable since I started HIV meds -- I now take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). Do interferon and ribavirin have any positive or negative effect on HIV?


 Is There a Significant Interaction Between Atripla and Propecia?
I'm about to start treatment with Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I just found out that the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) portion of Atripla may interact with Propecia (finasteride), which I've been taking for years now to manage hair loss (both medications supposedly utilize the same enzyme). My doctor didn't mention anything to me about that, so I doubt he's aware of it (there's no warning on either of the leaflets that come with the medications). My question is: Do you think the interaction is substantial? Should I be halting my Propecia intake or just monitoring it?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
My Fiancé Is Positive and I Am Negative
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

I am engaged to a wonderful man who happens to be HIV positive. We have been going out for three years and I love him dearly. He is doing really well (the numbers just keep getting better at every six-month visit and he is symptom-free, not counting the side effects from his meds). It isn't something we talk about much and it doesn't really affect our day-to-day life, besides our being far "safer" than the average couple. However, he is very private about his status, so none of the people we hang out with know.

Sometimes I just feel alone and would like to connect with others who are in a "mixed" relationship. One day we would like to have children, and I would love to hear from those who have done this. I also have a few questions like "How do I lessen my anxiety about having sex?" I am extremely ashamed of my anxiety, and would love to hear that I am not alone and that there is a way for me to work through this so we can both enjoy each other more without the stupid anxiety.

-- eloise79

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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Digging Up the Dead: Can a Long-Dead Body Transmit HIV?
Is there a public health concern involved in exhuming a body after 10 years if HIV was the cause of death?






Activist Central

 Ensure Congress Has a National AIDS Strategy


 Urge Your Senators to Co-Sponsor the Early Treatment for HIV Act


 Redial!


 Help Get Health Care Reform Back on Track


 Twelve Weeks and Counting: Extend Ryan White Now!


 Sound the Alarm: HIV Is Not in Recession


 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


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