October 19, 2009
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 Can the H1N1 Vaccine Work When You Have an Extremely Low CD4 Count?
I've been positive for 11 years and I took HIV medications for seven years. However, I'm no longer on medications. My CD4 count is 5 and my viral load is 50,000. Is it advisable for me to get the H1N1 vaccine? I understand that itís important to have some sort of immune system for the vaccine to work.

 Should the H1N1 Nasal Mist Be Used by HIV-Positive People?
I will be able to get the H1N1 nasal spray at work during the next few days. Can someone with HIV who has a CD4 count of 600 and an undetectable viral load take the H1N1 flu mist?

Also Worth Noting: This Positive Life: Former Pop Star Talks About Living With HIV

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day

In 1987, Sherri Lewis decided to get married. But a few months before the wedding, she learned she was HIV positive -- and her fiancé was HIV negative. "I remember telling my husband under my wedding veil, 'Don't kiss me,'" Sherri recalls. Although her fiancé stuck by her side, her life was forever changed. "I have succeeded at living with HIV, and living healthy with it," she says. "But it took a big bite out of my life." Read her inspiring story.

 What Can I Do to Stop Wasting and Gain Weight?
My body has been changing and I am losing fat (lipoatrophy) although I am now on Viramune (nevirapine) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), a regimen that supposedly doesn't cause lipoatrophy. However, it seems the lipo has gotten worse. Is there anything I can do to gain weight or stop the progression of lipo?

 Where Does the Best PMMA Come From?
What is the best PMMA (polymethyl-methacrylate, sold under the names: Articol, Artefill, Metacrill) on the market for buttock augmentation?

 Eighteen-Year HIV Survivor Struggling to Gain Weight
I am a healthy 18-year survivor of HIV and I've been struggling to gain weight. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and I weigh 137 pounds, although my normal, healthy-feeling weight is 150. I work out three times a week and I eat very well. My doctor had me on Deca-Durabolin (nandrolone decanoate) and testosterone injections before and I was gaining weight and feeling so much better. However, I am told that Deca is no longer made in the U.S. Is there another steroid that compares to Deca?


 Looking for Alternatives to Reyataz
I have been on boosted Reyataz (atazanavir) for four years and have always been self-conscious about the yellowing the increased bilirubin creates in my eyes. I have been told over and over that this side effect is completely harmless, but I'm still interested in making a regimen change because of it. The other drug in my regimen is Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) which I switched to from Combivir (AZT/3TC). My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 564. What regimen would you suggest as an alternative to the boosted Reyataz?

 Starting HAART in Russia
My son is 30 years old and lives in Russia. In May he was diagnosed with HIV. He started HIV meds in September and within three weeks his CD4 count went up to 313 and his viral load dropped below 500 copies, which is considered undetectable in Russia. He takes Reyataz (atazanavir), Norvir (ritonavir), Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC) and Zerit (stavudine, d4T). Is this the right choice of therapy? Do you have any other recommendations?

Also Worth Noting: ONAP AIDS Talks: Be Part of a White House HIV/AIDS Talk Near You!
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) has launched a series of HIV/AIDS community discussions throughout the U.S. -- and there may be one coming to your area. Take a look at the list of cities, and follow the directions to prepare for the meeting of your choice. The next discussion will take place in Columbia, S.C., on Oct. 26.

 Is Fatigue Keeping Me From Working Out, or Is It Depression?
I'm a 42-year-old male who's been living with HIV infection since 1993. Since 1986 I have regularly exercised with weights. However, since I had pneumonia in Nov. 2007, it's been a big effort to get dressed to go to the gym. I'm not sure if it's the weakness I felt before, during and after I had the pneumonia, or if I'm simply so depressed that I don't feel like going to the gym anymore. This is a vicious circle because not going to the gym makes me feel even more depressed and anxious. I've also been on Arcalion (sulbutiamine) for energy. What else can I do?

 Recurrent Anal Cancer: Any Way to Stop the Recurrence?
I have been living with HIV for over 20 years now and have been on meds for the past 10 years. Recently I was diagnosed with squamous cell anal cancer once again. Do you know what can be done so that this won't happen again? I have also been having eight to 10 bowel movements a day -- every time I eat I have to have one. What can I do about these problems?

 MAC, Other Infections, No CD4 Cells: Any Hope for Recovery?
My daughter has MAC (Mycobacterium Avium Complex). Her CD4 count is zero and her viral load has exceeded 100,000. She has been in the hospital for seven weeks. She keeps developing bacterial infections like C. difficile and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), she has no white or red blood cells and her hemoglobin levels continuously drop, causing her to need numerous blood transfusions. Is there any chance that my daughter will recover? Please help!

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Just Diagnosed -- Please Help
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I was diagnosed with HIV three weeks ago after a physical for life insurance, which I was turned down for of course. I've gone to a doctor and am waiting for my test results -- CD4 count, genotype, viral load. I have been doing a lot of research online and have ordered a couple books. I know from reading up on HIV that I'm PROBABLY going to be OK, but even with all the good things I've read, I still need reassurance and would like to hear from ANYONE who can let me know their story and help me with my sometimes negative thoughts of this disease. I have had a negative viral load for hepatitis C for six years now after six months of hepatitis C treatment, so I know from that experience that things do get better, but I would still like to hear others' experiences. -- luckyone

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 What Are Your Thoughts on Complementary Therapies for HIV?
What are your thoughts on the continual lack of attention to the field of alternative HIV treatment? Although I am not considering stopping HIV meds, I am curious and intrigued by some recent developments in complementary therapies.


 The Other Side of the "Lap Dancing Question"
I'm a sex worker who has been offered a job as a lap dancer. What are my risks?

 Are Lambskin Condoms Safe?
I had bareback sex with a man while separated from my wife. Once she and I got back together, we had sex using lambskin condoms -- before I read the fine print on the packaging that says they do not protect against HIV. I'm waiting for the six-month mark to be tested for HIV, and I'm terrified that I may have infected my wife. Is there any chance that lambskin condoms could protect against HIV?


 A Stripper Rubbed Her Naked Butt Against Me!
I was having a drink at a go-go club in Singapore. I was fully dressed, wearing jeans, underwear and a long T-shirt. A dancer/sex worker came up to me while I was standing near the bar and rubbed her butt against my crotch. She had a pair of shorts on. What is my risk of HIV?

 Spanking in a Mixed-Status Couple
My partner is positive and we take extreme care in our relationship to avoid infection. The other night he ejaculated, cleaned himself with a tissue (no contact between us) and gave me one spank in my butt. I washed myself two minutes later. Do you think that his spank may have posed a risk? I have some small red dots -- maybe acne, but really light -- in that area.

Activist Central

 Action Alert: Tell Congress to Cut Abstinence-Only Funding!

 Can't Make It to a White House HIV/AIDS Community Discussion? Provide Your Testimony Online for the U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy!

 Urge President Obama to Lift the Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange Programs

 Participate in the White House's HIV/AIDS Community Discussions on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy