November 9, 2009
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Also Worth Noting: New Video Blog: Being Public About Living With HIV

Justin B. Smith

Not long after Justin B. Smith found out he was HIV positive, he got a video camera, launched a video blog and committed himself to becoming an agent of change. His inspiration? U.S. President Barack Obama's use of new media to get his message out. Read and watch the first installment of Justin's blog on TheBody.com.
NUTRITION & HORMONES


 Switching From Testosterone Gel to Injections
I have been using Testogel (known as Androgel in the U.S.) for about six months now, but it's a hassle to put it on every day. I'd like to switch to injections if my doctor agrees. Which type of testosterone injection would you recommend, and at what dose? Also, what do you know about a longer-lasting form of testosterone called Nebido?


 What's the Best Way to Start Taking Creatine?
I am interested in creatine monohydrate supplementation to gain muscle and weight. I am a 53-year-old HIV-positive man and I've had an undetectable viral load for the past 12 years. I'm currently taking Reyataz (atazanavir), Norvir (ritonavir), Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and 5 mg of Androgel. After reviewing the available literature, my plan is to start taking 5 mg of creatine monohydrate with orange juice daily, skipping the higher-dose loading phase so I don't overtax my kidneys. Does this sound like a safe and reasonable course to follow?


 Should People With HIV Avoid Rare Meat?
I've been HIV positive for about four years. I'm currently taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), I have an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count of around 500 and I'm feeling fine. I am something of a foodie and enjoy eating rare meat, sometimes completely raw (e.g., steak tartare). I have heard that people with impaired immune systems should avoid raw or rare meat, but given that I have a (reasonably) good CD4 count, is this really something I need to worry about?


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Any Advice to Help My Positive Partner Relax During Sex?
I have been in a magnetic relationship for over a year now. I am HIV negative and my partner is HIV positive. We only practice safer sex. Here's my question: When I'm the "bottom" (receptive partner in anal sex), my partner is into it only for a short time; then he starts thinking about all the what-ifs, like the condom breaking and things of the sort, and the moment is lost. I know he's worried that he's going to infect me and I respect that. Do you have any suggestions for getting him to overcome his over-thinking and just enjoy the moment?


HIV & BODY SHAPE CHANGES


 Which Brand of PMMA Should I Use?
Which brand of PMMA (polymethyl-methacrylate, sold under the names Articol, Artefill or Metacrill) and its components should I choose for buttock augmentation?


Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Just a Few Days Left to Testify Online!
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP)'s series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is sweeping the U.S. You can still submit your testimony online from now through Nov. 13 at midnight. You can also take a look at the list of cities to see if a meeting is coming to your area. The next discussions will take place in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Nov.9 (that's tonight!), and in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 16.
COINFECTIONS & COMPLICATIONS OF HIV/HIV MEDICATIONS


 Experiencing Loose Stools Though Not Yet on HIV Meds
I was infected with HIV in December '08 and diagnosed in March '09. I currently have a CD4 count of 729 and my viral load has dropped from more than 10,000 to 1,400. According to an HIV drug resistance test, I have a virus which is resistant to most meds, though I'm not at a stage where I need meds yet. However, for several months now I have had loose stools and things don't seem to be as regular as they were before. I don't have a fantastic diet, but I never did. Could these side effects be related to HIV, some other type of infection or even cancer? Are there any foods or medicines that could help improve my situation?


 Is Atripla Associated With Hair Loss?
I have been using Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for two months now and I noticed that my hair is starting to fall out. Is this normal?


HIV TREATMENT


 HIV Positive and Pregnant but Afraid to See a Doctor
I tested HIV positive in 2006 and haven't gone for any checkups to check my CD4 count. Now I'm pregnant and I'm still afraid to go for a checkup. My husband is also positive and we have sex without a condom. What are the chances that our baby will be infected? When do I start taking medication to prevent my baby from being infected? Is it safe to take HIV medications when you're pregnant?


 Can't Tolerate Atripla: Is It Smart to Switch?
In March of this year I started Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). Within a month, my viral load became undetectable and my CD4 count started to rise. Currently my CD4 count is 480. I'm very happy that all is "under control"; however, I don't like Atripla's central nervous system (CNS) side effects! Some days I feel no effects; other days it's like I drank a six-pack and dropped acid. I've experienced memory loss and messed-up dreams and have become very irritable. I would like to switch off Atripla but I'm afraid of possibly exposing myself to resistance (I haven't missed a pill since starting). My genotype results show no resistance to anything. Would seeking another option be in my best interest or is Atripla really my best course of action at this time?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Is Anyone Out There?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I'm a single male, 30 years old, Latino, been poz for six years. I've been hiding this from everyone but I can't do it anymore -- it's eating me inside, no one knows about it ... I'm in need of guidance ... like all of us are when we don't know where to start. I'm looking for friends mainly in Houston, Texas, and I would love to have online friends as well. -- inHoustonTx

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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Masturbating Man at a Urinal: Am I at Risk?
I met a guy in a restroom. He was masturbating at the urinal. As I used the restroom, I watched him. He reached over and grabbed my hand and tried to put it on his body with the same hand he used to masturbate. I refused, pulled my hand away and left. When I got back to my car, I used hand sanitizer and I noticed a slight sting: A small piece of skin on my finger was pulled back, but not bleeding. Could pre-cum from his hand have come in contact with this tiny hangnail when he grabbed my hand? Am I at risk for HIV? Is testing warranted for this type of "exposure"?


 What if a Baggage Handler Ejaculated on My Toothbrush?
Could a disgruntled baggage handler have ejaculated on my toothbrush in an attempt to give me HIV? We had luggage problems after missing a connecting flight. When I finally got my luggage and arrived at my hotel, I took my brand-new toothbrush out of my bag, applied toothpaste and brushed. My toothbrush smelled just like semen, plus there was a slippery fluid in the plastic bag. Should I get tested?






Activist Central

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


 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


 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