March 29, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Can I "Go Holistic" to Treat HIV?
I was recently diagnosed with HIV and I'm afraid of the side effects that HIV meds might cause. What do you think of using holistic treatments in place of HIV meds?


 What Are Your Nutrition Suggestions for HIVers?
Which foods and eating habits do you think are best for an HIV-positive person?


More Questions About Living With HIV/AIDS:


HIV/AIDS & BODY SHAPE CHANGES


 How Can I Pay for Treatment for My Buffalo Hump and Turkey Neck?
For several years I have had a buffalo hump and a large amount of fat under my chin. These effects are taking an emotional and physical toll on me. I haven't had a date for years. Any time I meet a guy, all I can think about is how hideous I look. I have gone on starvation diets and lost weight everywhere but my chin and neck. Because of the extra weight I also have difficulty swallowing, and I cough so much at night that I can't sleep. How can I get my medical insurance to pay for treatment for body shape changes?


 Can Prostate Cancer Survivors Take Tesamorelin for Lipodystrophy?
I was treated for prostate cancer a few years ago, and I also suffer from lipodystrophy. Recently I read about tesamorelin. Would I be able to take this potential new drug for lipodystrophy, or might there be a problem due to my prostate cancer treatment history?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the March 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Color Flowers" 1998; Joe DeHoyos

Visit the March 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "The Pure Cut," is curated by Joseph Akel.
MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Condom Failure With an HIV-Positive Top: What Are the Risks for My Partner?
I am an HIV-positive gay man. I take HIV meds and my viral load has been undetectable for over two years. I'm currently dating an HIV-negative man. We always use protection for anal sex, but a couple of days ago we realized that the condom had broken while I was being the top. Could I have infected him, even though my virus is undetectable?


 Condom Was Left Inside Me: What's the Risk?
I'm HIV negative and my boyfriend is HIV positive, but he's not on HIV meds yet. Recently we had sex and the condom was left inside my vagina. What are my chances of becoming HIV positive?


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Feeling "Hung Over" After a Week on Atripla
I started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) as my first HIV med regimen a little more than a week ago. I was full of energy just before starting, but now I am having a terrible time coping with the fatigue caused by this pill. I feel hung over for most of the day and take several naps. I know it's only a week into treatment but I'm having a very difficult time functioning at work. What can I do?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES


 Could Caffeine Be the Culprit for My Diarrhea?
I take Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), and I find that sometimes I experience severe diarrhea after I have coffee. It's a horrible feeling, leaving me empty and hollow, plus my food isn't absorbed well and I'm already quite thin. Should I cut out coffee altogether to avoid this happening?


 Can Pancreatitis Be Caused by the Meds I Take?
I am on Combivir (AZT/3TC), Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Viread (tenofovir), as well as Lipitor (atorvastatin). My triglycerides are over 1,000, my glucose is up and my liver function is up. Should my doctors change my meds?


 How Can I Help My Friend With AIDS Wasting Syndrome?
I have a friend who was diagnosed with advanced HIV four months ago. He is now on Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). He's six feet four inches tall and before he got sick he was 170 pounds; now he weighs around 120 to 130 pounds. He's going to see a nutritionist next week, but what else can I provide him with at home? I have read about Juven and I am considering that or nandrolone (Deca-Durabolin). Which do you think would be the most effective against wasting?


More Questions About Other Health Issues:


UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Why Is My CD4 Count Dropping if My Viral Load Is Undetectable?
I'm a 54-year-old man and I've been HIV positive for 14 years. I've been on Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) and Viread (tenofovir) for more than five years, with complete control of the virus and no noticeable side effects. Over the last 18 months my T-cell count, which has always stayed around 500, has been decreasing. I'm in OK shape otherwise and my viral load is still undetectable, but I'm concerned that this med combo could be causing the T-cell decline. What's going on?


 Can Stress Increase Someone's CD4 Count?
I was diagnosed HIV positive in February 1992. I started HIV meds in August 2005 with a CD4 count of 81. Since January I have been under severe stress. My business has closed and I currently consider myself to be at my lowest point. However, my most recent lab tests show that my CD4 count is 871. My expectation was a higher viral load and a lower CD4 count, but the opposite has turned out to be true. Can stress sometimes contribute to CD4 count growth?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
What Other Kinds of Help Can an HIV-Positive Vet Get From the VA?
(A recent post from the "HIV/AIDS in the Military" board)

I'm just getting over a depressed stage with HIV. The only thing I've done is go to Veterans Affairs (the VA) to seek help with my HIV meds. Is there anything else that I can seek through the VA that would help me? I was in active duty from 1998 to 2003. From there I have been in the National Guard and Army Reserve, so I have a total of 12 years in the military. -- beterday
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HIV TRANSMISSION


 How Can My Brother Still Be HIV Negative if His Partner and Baby Tested HIV Positive?
On Feb. 17, a baby girl was born. On March 16, the mom was notified that she and her baby had tested HIV positive. On March 19, the baby's father (my little brother) tested HIV negative. Their older baby is a year old, and he's HIV negative. How can my brother's test results be correct when he and his partner have had unprotected sex multiple times -- enough to have two babies a year apart?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Who Ordered the Lettuce-Wrapped HIV?
I was in a restaurant and the server brought my plate over. As he was setting it down I noticed he had a scratch, paper cut or nick of some kind on his finger. I thought nothing of it and ate the food right away. However, if this person was HIV positive and his finger with the abrasion was resting on my food when he brought it, what would be my chances of getting HIV?




New From Our Bloggers

Scott Simpson: Back in the Saddle Again (posted March 29)
Scott Simpson"I was hoping to give this blog entry a title with a super positive spin -- something like "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" -- because I hadn't had any 'anxiety' attack episodes for an entire week "


Justin B. Smith: Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriage in Maryland? (posted March 23)
Justin B. Smith"Marrying my husband in another state wasn't what I originally dreamed of for my wedding. I didn't like the fact that I had to travel hundreds of miles to do something that so many people take for granted."







Activist Central

 Sign-On and Forward "An Open Letter to Pharmaceutical Companies on the ADAP Crisis"


 Women Living With HIV: Take a Survey on Sexual and Reproductive Health Services


 Tell HHS That Black Women Openly Living With HIV/AIDS Should Be Represented on PACHA


 Action Alert: Tell Congress You Support a Permanent Fix to Ryan White Housing Policy!


 Volunteer Doctors and Nurses Needed in Haiti Thru April 30, 2010