February 1, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Can I Follow a No-Sodium Diet in the U.S.?
I have been HIV positive since 1994. I was recently diagnosed with advanced liver disease and must follow a no-sodium diet as part of the treatment. Do you have any tips for doing this? It seems even flavored water has sodium these days.


 Can Dietary Supplements Help Beat Heart Disease Risk?
Can soy protein, omega-3 fish oil or any other daily supplements help reduce the risk of heart disease in people with HIV?


HIV/AIDS & BODY SHAPE CHANGES


 Can I Use PMMA to Treat Fat Loss in My Forehead?
I was told by a plastic surgeon in the U.S. that the skin on the forehead is too thin for facial fillers. Do you know whether PMMA (polymethyl-methacrylate, Articol, Artefill, Metacrill) can be used to correct fat loss in the area above the nose and eyebrows? If so, do you have any information about methods, results or possible side effects?


 How Do I Craft an Anti-Lipo Regimen?
Can you walk me through some of the better HIV med regimens to take if I want to avoid facial wasting?


New Blogs: A Diverse Group of HIVers Share Their Stories
There's a lot going on at TheBody.com's Blog Central! Meet Enrique Franco, a former U.S. Army sergeant who lost his career to the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell rule; and Robert Breining, who writes about overcoming crystal meth addiction. They're two of TheBody.com's newest bloggers, and they'll be sharing their experiences living with HIV. You can also read the latest entries from Blog Central regulars like fogcityjohn and Scott Simpson.
HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Am I on a "Full" HIV Treatment Regimen?
I am a 55-year-old woman and have been HIV positive since 1992. My T-cell count is a little over 300 and my viral load is 4,000. I was on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Viramune (nevirapine) for a long time -- until my kidneys started to fail. My doctor prescribed Isentress (raltegravir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Norvir (ritonavir). Isn't this only a two-drug regimen, with the Norvir just acting as a booster? I called the doctor's office and the nurse confirmed that this was the correct regimen. What should I do?


 Are There Interactions Between My HIV Meds and My Supplements?
I'm a 42-year-old woman who's been HIV positive since 1991. I take Viramune (nevirapine) and Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and my viral load has been undetectable for the past three years. After reading about supplements, I started taking coenzyme Q10, DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), omega-3, folic acid, B-complex and vitamin C, and stopped taking my lipid-lowering drug. What do you think of this? Is there a danger of interaction between my meds and any of these supplements?


 Low CD4 Count, but Feeling OK: Should I Start Meds?
My new doctor is worried because my CD4 count is 138. Aside from these "alarming results," I'm feeling active and have never had an HIV-related illness. Should I start HIV meds right away or check my viral load first?


COINFECTIONS & COMPLICATIONS OF HIV/HIV MEDICATIONS


 Coinfected and Anemic: Should I Stop My Hep C Meds?
I have HIV and hepatitis C. I have five months left in a course of Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a) for hep C, but I've recently become anemic. I have shortness of breath and weight loss, and I feel weak all the time. Could this be caused by the hep C treatment? Do you think I should stay on it?


 What Causes Neuropathy?
Which HIV meds are associated with peripheral neuropathy (pain, tingling or numbness in the extremities)? Is someone with an AIDS diagnosis at greater risk for this side effect?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the January 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Eight Guys" 1996; Tony Feher

Visit the January 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! Last month's gallery, entitled "Light Itself," was curated by Joy Garnett.
UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What's a "Normal" CD4 Count?
What are "safe" CD4 counts for HIV-positive people? What's considered a normal CD4 count for a person who doesn't have HIV?


 K103N: A Common HIV Mutation, Explained
Can you explain what an "HIV mutation" is, and why the K103N mutation can be particularly dangerous?


HIV TESTING & TRANSMISSION


 Will My Fever Affect My HIV Test Results?
I'm about to reach the three-month mark after a possible HIV exposure. I have not been ill in the past three months. However, I recently came down with a high fever and severe diarrhea. Would these symptoms affect my HIV test results? Should I wait to get tested until my fever has gone down?


 Can Another HIVer Give Me a "Worse Infection"?
If two HIV-positive people have sex, is it possible for one to give the other a "worse" infection? Or is HIV positive just HIV positive, period?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
I Just Need Some Encouragement
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

"I have been positive for eight years and I have often been on this site offering support to others. Now I need some real words of encouragement. I am going through my day having a hard time reconnecting with that powerful person that I know that I can be. ... I am thinking about my status every day and letting it get the best of me. Can someone give me a pick me up? I just really need it now." -- dakotalagrange
Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!

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NEWS & VIEWS


 Why Can't We Have More Fixed-Dose Combos?
Why can't more drug companies come together and combine commonly used HIV drug regimens into single pills, like they did with Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC)?


 Why Doesn't TheBody.com Have a Forum for Possible Cures?
If this site is truly dedicated to education around all things HIV related, why don't you have a forum for discussing potential, but unproven, cures for HIV?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Obsessive-Compulsive Toothbrush-Touching: What's the Risk?
I moved in with a colleague of mine. We share a bathroom, and I recently found myself touching my roommate's toothbrush handle. I've continued to do this and have moved on to smelling the brush part from a distance of 1 to 2 cm from my nose. Is there a risk of HIV from either of these activities?






Activist Central

 Help Stop Dangerous Ugandan Parliament Legislation


 Play in a Bid Whist Tournament in Your Area; Raise HIV/AIDS Awareness and Funds!


 Apply to Attend or Present at This Summer's AIDS 2010 Conference by Feb. 10!


 End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare


 In California, ADAP Gets a Boost -- but HIV/AIDS Advocates Push for More Help