November 2, 2009
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HIV/HAART COMPLICATIONS


 Bio-Alcamid and the Risk of Infection
I understand that there is a risk of late infection after the use of Bio-Alcamid (poly-Alkyl-Imide). How many years does the risk of this infection last?


 High Triglycerides From HIV Medications?
I have been on Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) for about 10 years now (Epzicom [abacavir/3TC, Kivexa] for about six years). Recent labs show my triglycerides around 330, cholesterol around 210 and LDL (low-density lipoproteins) at 113. I eat hearty, healthy meals -- hardly any red meat and a lot of salmon and greens -- and keep to a very low-fat diet. I also take fish oil and flax seed oil pills daily, plus I exercise regularly. What more can I or my doctors do to lower these numbers? I feel like I'm on the road to "strokin' out" any day, and my facial wasting is also getting much worse.


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FACTS ABOUT HIV/AIDS


 Evaluating the Strength of the Virus You Were Infected With
Does it make a difference whether I got infected by someone who got HIV in the 1980s versus, say, 2002? A friend told me that the HIV medications a person's virus was exposed to back then made a difference in how virulent or weak the virus would be in someone infected with that virus later on.


 Would Every HIVer Die Without HIV Medications?
Does everyone with HIV eventually die without meds? Are there some who never progress to AIDS? If so, do you know the statistics? Also, I've read that when someone's CD4 count gets down below 200, she or he gets all kinds of opportunistic infections. Is this just an average number?


HIV TREATMENT


 Where Can I Find the Best Doctors to Treat HIV/AIDS?
I have recently been diagnosed with HIV. Is it better to get treatment through an independent health provider using Blue Shield or Kaiser Permanente, or are the doctors just as good under a state-run program?


 CD4 Count of 127: Should I Start HIV Treatment Now or Take Herbs and Delay Meds?
I am a 43-year-old female. I have just been diagnosed with HIV and I have a CD4 of 127. My doctor has suggested that I start Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) once a day and co-trimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim) once a day until I get my CD4 up to 200. I started the co-trimoxazole; however, I'm thinking of delaying the Atripla for two months so that I can build up my immunity with the herbal supplement astragalus, as well as vitamins and herbal products. Can I safely try and do this or am I at risk of cancers and infections if I don't start taking Atripla immediately?


 Great Response to Atripla: Will I Be OK?
I was diagnosed with HIV in December 2007 and started Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) in January 2008. My viral load was 100,000 and became undetectable in five weeks. I am still undetectable now. My CD4 count was 27 in January 2007 and it's now 675. I feel great -- I put on 50 pounds and have now stopped Bactrim (co-trimoxazole) and Zithromax (azithromycin) prophylaxis as my doctor ordered. I am 100 percent adherent to my HIV meds. Am I going to be OK?


Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Attend a White House Talk or Testify Online
A series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is underway throughout the U.S., hosted by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP). 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 St. Thomas and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, on Nov. 9. You also have some time left to testify online from anywhere in the U.S. -- online testimony closes on Nov. 12.
HIV/HAART & HAVING CHILDREN


 Does Having HIV Mean I Can Never Have Children?
I am a man with HIV. Does this mean I can never have children?


 When Should I Stop Stocrin (Sustiva) if I Want to Get Pregnant?
I am on Stocrin (efavirenz, known as Sustiva in the U.S. and Canada), Zerit (stavudine) and 3TC (Epivir, lamivudine) and I want a baby. Should I stop Stocrin before I conceive? How long before? Can I stop once I find out I'm pregnant?


HIV PREVENTION


 Taking HIV Treatment to Prevent Getting HIV From a Human Bite
I received a human bite on my upper arm about three weeks ago. It was so severe that it broke through my skin. I was put on Combivir (AZT/3TC) immediately and have been using it religiously. I am struggling with fatigue and, on some days, severe nausea. For how long should I use the medication? What are precautions we can take in and around the house during the window period?


 Questions About Safer Sex in a Mixed-Status Couple
I'm an HIV-negative woman married to an HIV-positive man who's had an undetectable viral load since 1998. I have a rare skin disease/autoimmune disorder called hidradenitis suppurativa. This condition causes me to have boil-like lesions in my groin and perineum and under my breasts. I regularly have many sores at various stages in the healing process. This condition is not contagious. In any event, with my husband being undetectable, we have decided that we would assume a small risk when making love. I give him unprotected oral sex (he seldom has any pre-cum); we also have unprotected intercourse and he pulls out prior to climax. Is this type of sexual contact relatively safe? Am I at any further risk if his semen comes in contact with my hidradenitis sores?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Working Out
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I've been poz for 11 years, been doing great on my meds, T-cell count is over 1,100 and viral load is undetectable, but I am ALWAYS tired. A couple years ago I found out my body was no longer producing testosterone. Another side effect of long-term HIV infection -- doesn't happen to everyone, but ... there it is. So no big deal, I take injections every two weeks to replace it. I want to get back to the gym, as I'm hoping some exercise will start to give me more energy over time. I completely understand that I need to start slow and build up. But what should I start with? I tried to go to the gym and start with some weights, but even the lightest made my entire arm, and eventually body, shake just after a few reps. Am I doing something wrong? If anyone else has experienced this, or has any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. I'd love to stop feeling like a wimp all the time!
-- dreamdzign

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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Can Swallowing a Lot of Semen Give Me HIV?
I swallowed my own semen and it's quite a lot! Can I get HIV this way?


 Sniffing Semen: What's the Risk?
I live in a homophobic country and I'm gay. I recently came in contact with another gay man. We mutually masturbated and I touched his semen. I wiped my finger as soon as I touched it, but stupidly I sniffed my finger right after wiping it off. Do you think I could have gotten HIV that way? Could the virus have traveled from my finger into my nose?






Activist Central

 Alert: Don't Let Dems Wimp Out on Opposing Abstinence-Only Funding


 U.S. Territories Separate and Unequal in Healthcare Reform; How You Can Help


 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