December 7, 2009
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HIV/AIDS & BODY SHAPE CHANGES


 How Can I Pay for My Facial Filler Treatments?
What is the latest on Medicare and facial fillers? Will they now consider covering the costs of some of them? I had Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) treatments three years ago through the patient-assistance program (PAP). Now I need a touch-up and I certainly can't afford it on my own since the PAP seems to have disappeared.


 How Low a CD4 Count Is Too Low for Lipoatrophy Treatment?
My CD4 count has always been somewhat low since I was diagnosed with HIV in 1992. I suffer from severe lipoatrophy (limited to my face). My latest CD4 count was 19. Would I run a greater risk of infection if I were to have any kind of procedure to treat lipoatrophy? At what point is someone's CD4 count too low for him or her to undergo lipoatrophy treatment?


 Which Meds Carry the Lowest Risk of Body Shape Changes?
I'll be starting HIV meds soon and would like to know which of these combinations of meds carries the lowest risk of body fat side effects: Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC); Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC); or Isentress and Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa)?


Video Blog: When My T Cells Are Old and Gray

Mark King

"Do I have the right to complain about getting older?" asks 25-year HIV survivor Mark King. In King's tremendously entertaining, creative new video blog, he -- and his snarky alter-ego -- try to cope with the realities of growing older as a gay man with HIV.
HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 My Health Care Provider Is Forcing Me to Change My Med Regimen
I get my health care through the Veterans Administration health care system. I have been told that I am being taken off Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and switched to Reyataz (atazanavir), but will remain on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). No discussion, no explanation, no options. I have also been relegated to the care of a physician assistant, with a consulting doctor that I have never seen in my two years at his facility. What issues, if any, should I be concerned with when it comes to changing HIV meds?


 How Can We Know How Safe the New Meds Will Be in the Long Term?
My doctor is not putting me on HIV meds until my CD4 count falls to 350 cells, regardless of CD4 percentage. He cautions that even the new meds are not side effect-free and that we still don't know their long-term side effects. I was reading your comments on treatment and they all seem very optimistic -- too optimistic for my doctor. What makes you so confident that the meds will work for decades without serious side effects?


 HIV Positive and Trying to Get Pregnant: A Question About Meds
Is Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) safe to take while trying to get pregnant?


Got questions about HIV and pregnancy? Don't forget to check out TheBody.com's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About HIV/AIDS & Pregnancy for a variety of questions our experts have answered on the topic!


COMPLICATIONS OF HIV/HIV MEDICATIONS


 What Could Be Causing My Belly Pain and Daily Diarrhea?
I'm 29 years old and I've been HIV positive for four years now. My CD4 count is about 336 and my viral load is undetectable. I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for two years. For the past six months I've had diarrhea every day, and in the past two weeks I've also had bad pains in my lower belly before I use the bathroom. Could Atripla be causing these symptoms? If so, what can I do?


Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Today Is the Final Day to Testify via E-mail!!
The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP)'s historic series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is almost over. The final discussion will take place in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on Monday, Dec. 14. If you live in or near Caguas, take a look at the details and register for the meeting! You can also still e-mail your testimony to ONAP through today, Monday, Dec. 7.
UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Do CD4 Counts, Viral Loads or Complete Blood Counts Reveal Duration of HIV Infection?
I am having a hard time translating what my initial lab test numbers mean for my current health. I have a CD4 count of 360, a viral load of 38,000/4.58 log copies, and a white blood cell count of 2.6. Through these numbers, is there a way to find out when I could have been infected and how fast the disease is progressing?


 Detectable Viral Load After Five Years of Being Undetectable: Should I Worry?
At a recent appointment with my HIV specialist, I found out that my viral load is 107 after being undetectable for five years. I'm devastated. Why is my viral load detectable now after five years of taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and five years of being undetectable?


Check out TheBody.com's page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About HIV Viral Load Tests for many more questions and answers on viral load test results.


HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING


 Unprotected Sex With Someone Who's HIV Positive: What Are My Chances of Infection?
My boyfriend got an HIV test and the results of his ELISA were "reactive" (positive), but I decided to continue having unprotected oral and anal sex with him while waiting for the results of his Western blot. Unfortunately my boyfriend tested positive and now I'm really worried.


 Can There Be Exposure to HIV, but No HIV Infection?
Is there something wrong with HIV antibody tests? I ask this because many people have unprotected sex with HIV-positive partners and then experience many symptoms, but have HIV-negative test results.


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
I Want to Tell My Kids I Have HIV
(A recent post from the "Coping With HIV" board)

I have been positive since 2001 and now I am thinking about telling my children that I have HIV. I'm not sure how to go about it or if I should even do it. I just want them to hear it from me and not anyone else. My oldest son is 15 and my youngest is 11. Anyone have any advice? -- gigi5578nj
Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!

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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Pillow Pounding: What's the Risk?
I find it uncomfortable to masturbate with my hands, so I use a pillow. Can you get hepatitis, another sexually transmitted disease or any kind of disease from pounding someone else's pillow?


 Can the Pages of 10-Year-Old Porno Mags Give Me HIV?
I bought an old, used adult magazine online. When I received the magazine, I masturbated while flipping through it. It seemed to be in good condition with no "stains" on it, but if the original owner also masturbated and then touched the magazine, is there any way that the pathogens of certain sexually transmitted diseases could survive and infect me when I touched them and then touched myself?


If you're a fan of Hot Topics, you're sure to get a lot out of TheBody.com's wide range of Frequently Asked Questions pages -- check them out!






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