September 14, 2009
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 How Can I Stop Gaining Fat?
How do I lose weight without diet pills? I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 650. I'm 6 feet 1 inch tall and I weigh 215 pounds. I think my body is storing fat.

 Fat Loss After One Year of HIV Medications
After taking HIV meds for a year, I have experienced fat loss around my butt and hips, but my stomach is becoming more bloated. What should I do to regain my figure? Will my body be like this for the rest of my life?

 Is Low-Dose Naltrexone Effective Against Body Shape Changes?
I found a Web site where a New York doctor named Dr. Bihari claims that lipodystrophy and lipoatrophy can be avoided altogether with the nightly use of low-dose naltrexone. Are you familiar with this treatment? What do you think of it?


 What's the Harm in a Double Dose of Truvada?
What should people taking Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) do if they can't remember if they've taken their dose for the day? Is there any harm in taking another dose or should they leave it for the next day?

 Does Norvir Have to Be Refrigerated?
When will Norvir (ritonavir) as a booster be made in a non-refrigerated formula? I take a lot of pills and would like to simplify my regimen.

Also Worth Noting: Swine Flu: HIV Expert Dr. Joel Gallant Gives an Update

Dr. Joel Gallant

Fear appears to be ramping up again over swine flu (H1N1) as this year's flu season approaches in the U.S. and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Have we learned anything new about swine flu since the global outbreak began? What lies in store over the months to come, and what can people with HIV do to protect themselves? We caught up with top HIV physician Joel Gallant, M.D., M.P.H., for the latest news and predictions.

 Changing Jobs and Pre-Existing Condition Issues
I am HIV positive and currently covered under my job's health insurance plan. I am seriously thinking about changing jobs, which would mean a change of health insurance. Would I be covered? I am currently taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC).


 Top Questions and Answers About HIV and H1N1 Flu
All people with HIV are recommended to get a H1N1 (swine) flu vaccination and a regular flu vaccination. Would you recommend that people with HIV get the regular flu shot now and then go back to the doctor for the swine flu vaccination? Also, if I think I may have had swine flu in the spring, does this mean I have some sort of immunity? Finally, is the swine flu vaccination live virus? Is there any danger to someone with HIV?

 Is Red Marine Algae Safe to Take With HIV Meds?
Are there any known interactions between RMA (red marine algae, sulfated polysaccharides) and Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) or any other HIV meds? I battle chronic herpes (HSV) outbreaks, and in addition to acyclovir (Zovirax) I have started using an RMA ointment on my penis. I'd like to step it up a notch and take oral RMA capsules.

 OI Meds, Overwork, Viral Load Blip: What Could Be Causing My Fatigue?
I am a 49-year-old gay male. I avoided getting an HIV test for years, but in spring of 2008 what I thought was just the flu was actually several opportunistic infections (OIs), including MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex). I spent an entire month in the hospital. I was put on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), as well as clarithromycin (Biaxin) and ethambutol (Myambutol) for MAC and other drugs to prevent or treat OIs. My viral load dropped to undetectable within a few months and my CD4 count has been climbing, though I was told I was very anemic and had low platelets. When I went off the MAC drugs, I had a little bit of extra energy but I am now experiencing fatigue more than usual. My last test showed that my viral load went up a little bit. Could this be causing the fatigue? I also went back to work full time and I'm on my feet a lot. Could the fatigue come from working too much?

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the September 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Support Group" 1999; Becky Trotter

Visit the September 2009 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "A Visual Decameron," is curated by Martin Masetto.

  Is It Normal for My Boyfriend to Get Sick a Few Months After Getting HIV?
My boyfriend was diagnosed with HIV on May 20, with an exposure date of April 8 and textbook symptoms two weeks after exposure. He doesn't have medical insurance and gets ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) care through the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, but he's not on medication because no baseline has been established. Due to budget problems, his appointments keep getting pushed back. He had been very healthy (though he smokes moderately) until just a few days ago when he started feeling some congestion and fatigue. Last night he told me that his body was starting to ache all over. Could these be HIV-related side effects? Is it common for recently diagnosed HIVers to fully go through seroconversion and then get sick again later? What should we do?


 At What Point After Taking PEP Should I Get an HIV Test?
I am currently on a course of PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) to prevent possible HIV infection after a risky encounter. When is the earliest time I can have an HIV test? Is it three months after the risky encounter, or three months after the last pill has been swallowed, or is it something else altogether? My clinic said, "Just come when you've finished the course and you'll be 99 percent sure then." Yet, they also insisted that I come back at the three-month mark too. Please clear this up for me!

 Does HIV Cause Rectal Bleeding?
Can rectal bleeding be a sign of seroconversion? I had anal sex about two months ago and the condom popped. I did not have any bleeding then but a month later I had some bleeding. Now I'm bleeding again -- not a lot, and only two times now, but I'm scared I may have contracted HIV. Should I be worried?

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
My Dad Was Just Diagnosed With Advanced AIDS
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

My dad is gay and spent his entire life hiding it from everyone. He had a good job with the government for over 25 years, but within a year of splitting up with my mother, he got hooked on crack cocaine. Within two years, he had lost his job, house, car and over $500,000 in savings. He's been totally reckless with his health. I've been pushing him to see a doctor for years. Three weeks ago he finally went in. He's lost a ton of weight, has a persistent fungal skin infection all over his body, in his mouth, and recently has trouble even getting out of bed. Yesterday he called me after getting his blood test results. Even though I knew in theory that he was likely HIV positive, I was devastated to hear he's been diagnosed with "full-blown" AIDS, as he put it. I'm afraid he won't even bother to seek more help or medication from the HIV clinic at the hospital. I don't know what the point of this post is, aside from needing to "vent." What can I do for my father?

-- ontariogirl

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 Can I Get Infected by Inhaling HIV-Charged Farts?
I inhaled some scentless farts recently. I know inhalation is a route of medicine administration, so things you inhale do get into your bloodstream. I also have a weak immune system so that increases my chances of contracting HIV (I have a master's degree in public health, so I know about these things). Should I get tested?

 Can the Chair Leg at the Chain Restaurant Give Me HIV?
I was eating at Fuddruckers and rubbed my leg against the chair next to me. There was a piece of wood sticking out of the chair and it scraped my leg and made it bleed a bit. If someone with HIV had the same incident just before me, is there a risk? I was sitting in the chair for about five to 10 minutes before it happened.

Public Service Announcement

Activist Central

 Re-Authorize the Ryan White Act -- Care for People Living With HIV/AIDS

 Action Alert: Easy Steps to Impact U.S. HIV/AIDS Policy!

 Call Assembly Speaker Silver: Stop The HASA Rent Crisis -- New Yorkers With HIV/AIDS Need Affordable Housing!

 Tell Senators Health Care Reform Must Include Medicaid Parity for U.S. Territories!

 Petition for a Robust National Public Health Care Option and Expansion and Enhancement of Medicaid Coverage