November 30, 2009
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World AIDS Day: What Can You Do, See, Hear and Know?

World AIDS Day

Whether you're new to the HIV/AIDS community or a 25-year veteran, there's always more to learn -- and more knowledge to share. Check out TheBody.com's World AIDS Day section for some great ideas and resources, as well as information you can share with your community.
COMPLICATIONS OF HIV/HIV MEDICATIONS


 Should I Be Treated for Low Testosterone?
I've been HIV positive for almost 24 years now. My CD4 count is 222 and my viral load is undetectable. For the past two years I've been experiencing many symptoms of hypogonadism (poor libido, increased abdominal fat, high lipids, difficulty concentrating, depression, irritability, shrinkage of testicles, etc.). However, I had my testosterone levels tested and my doctor told me they were normal. I'm very muscular and I work out five times a week, but my large gut and fat loss in my buttocks, face and limbs have made me very self-conscious. Should I pressure my doctor to treat me for hypogonadism?


 Can Radiesse and Sculptra Be Given as Combination Treatment?
What are your feelings about someone getting both Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) and Radiesse (calcium hydroxylapatite, Radiance) treatments together for facial wasting?


 Aging and HIV: What Are the Chances I'll Develop Dementia?
I am on Reyataz (atazanavir), Norvir (ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). I have been HIV positive for two years. I've lived a healthy life since before I tested positive -- no drugs or alcohol. I read a recent New York Magazine article on HIV and aging which concerned and depressed me. What are the chances that I will get dementia?


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Is It OK to Take HIV Medications With Alcohol?
I started HIV meds with Combivir (AZT/3TC) and have been taking it twice a day for the past two years without any missed doses. My CD4 count was 200 when I started Combivir; since then it's only gone up to 284. Does this mean the medicine is not working on me? I've taken a few doses of my meds with alcohol when water wasn't available. Could this be the reason my CD4 count has stayed low?


Also Worth Noting: Bid2BeatAIDS: Participate in LIFEbeat's e-Bay Auction!
This huge annual entertainment memorabilia auction kicks off on eBay at noon Eastern Time on Dec. 1. View and bid on treasures donated by dozens of celebrities, from Lady Gaga to 50 Cent to Bernadette Peters. The first four Bid2BeatAIDS auctions raised more than $300,000. More than 600 items have already been received for this year's auction -- and new signed celebrity items are coming in every day! Proceeds go to LIFEbeat -- The Music Industry Fights AIDS.
 What Are the Benefits of Starting HIV Meds With a High CD4 Count?
My doctor said I could start meds if I want, even though my CD4 count is 598 and my viral load is 1,254. My virus genome only shows resistance to Retrovir (zidovudine, AZT). I've enjoyed eight years free of meds or any related disease (besides some depression). Are the potential long-term benefits of meds greater than the ease of not having to take them now?


 Do You Really Think There Will Be No Cure or Vaccine Soon?
You've claimed many times that a cure or a vaccine is not even on the distant horizon and that we shouldn't hope for a treatment break or change for the next years. However, I recently read about phase II trials of a preventive vaccine by GeoVax, Inc., as well as therapeutic gene therapy by VIRxSYS Corporation, both of which seem very promising. Do you not believe very much in these new approaches, or do you know something that we and the two companies don't know? Why do you say that there won't be a vaccine or cure in the next five years?


 Why Should I Start HIV Meds With a High CD4 Count?
I was diagnosed with HIV five years ago, which was kind of a shock considering that I had done a study in San Francisco that said I lacked some gene that allowed the virus to attach. Anyway, here I am five years later and my viral load has never gone up past 500 (it's currently 126) and my CD4 count has never been under 700 (it's currently 845). When I asked my doctor what he thought, he said that I was lucky, but then suggested I started medication anyway. If my body is fighting off the virus on its own, why would I want to start a lifelong commitment to taking meds? Am I fooling myself in thinking my body has HIV handled?


 What Supplement Can I Take With Atripla?
Which vitamin or herbal supplements should not be taken with Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC)?


 How Do I Avoid Drug Interactions When Taking HIV Meds?
I recently read someone's forum post about taking Lexapro (escitalopram) with Norvir (ritonavir). I'm not on meds yet, but my doc and I have already determined the regimen I will start with when that day comes. I want to start a depression medication, but I heard about possible interaction issues with HIV meds. Does this happen whether you take Lexapro, Cymbalta (duloxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine) or any other med for depression? What about other medications? I had back surgery and have to take pain medication.


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Looking for Friendship
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I have been diagnosed with HIV for about six months now and have no one to talk to. I am looking for friendship and maybe more. I am a 29-year-old female who lives around Gurnee, Ill. -- brokenandtorn
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HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING


 When Is a Post-PEP HIV Test Conclusive?
I had an HIV exposure and 96 hours afterward was put on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Isentress (raltegravir) as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection. I tested negative at week eight. At that time the doctor took me off PEP. Is the eight-week test accurate? I plan on getting tested at the three-month mark as well.


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
My HIV Doctor Pisses Me Off!
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I am in the process of seeking another HIV specialist. I swear some M.D.s have ZERO human interaction skills. I recently saw my current HIV M.D. for my follow up and he was training a nurse practitioner and two interns, which I gave him the OK to do. ... I was asked a gazillion questions, including: "Are you having problems eating or swallowing food?" and my HIV doc turns around and sarcastically says to them: "Well just look at him, he has no eating problems" and looked directly at my stomach. First off, I am not a skinny, athletic guy or a wasted-looking guy (even though I do have an AIDS diagnosis). I have always been chubby all my life. My M.D. is one of those super-skinny, super-healthy-eating sports nuts, and he looked at me in disgust like I weighed 500 pounds in front of these people. I was acting cool and collected but I really wanted to belt him one. Needless to say, I am finding another M.D. I was freakin' treated like scum just because I have a few extra pounds -- unbelievable! Coincidentally, the next day I read how certain doctors discriminate against heavier people and don't offer them better treatment(s) due to their weight. Has anyone ever experienced this? -- jmiami
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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Can You Get HIV From Touching Gum Stuck Under a Desk?
I was visiting a class on a college campus. I pulled up a desk and felt a piece of gum someone had stuck under it. I had just cut my finger really badly with a knife the day before. If the person that chewed the gum had HIV and got blood on the gum, and then I rubbed my cut finger on the gum, could I be at risk for HIV?






Activist Central

 Call on Your Senator to Support Health Care Reform


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


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


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


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