April 6, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 What Are the Risks of Anabolic Steroid Use?
I'm 37 years old and I've been HIV positive for eight years. My viral load has always been low, my CD4 count only dropped to the 300 range two years ago and I've never been sick. I just started taking HIV meds for the first time a month ago. I've also been using anabolic steroids for the past two years and I'd like to continue doing so. What are some of the risks of using anabolics?


  Losing Insurance Through Layoff: What Are My Options?
I'm being laid off and losing my health insurance. I've been on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), which has been working very well, and now I'm in a dilemma as far as where to get care. What do you suggest?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the April 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Self-Portrait ... We Are All Gently Lifted" 1999; Gregg Cassin

Visit the March 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Help! Hold Me!," is curated by Emily Nepon.
HIV/AIDS & BODY SHAPE CHANGES


 Which Popular Regimen Is More Likely to Cause Body Shape Changes?
I'm going to start HIV meds soon and my doctor has asked me to choose either Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) or Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) as my first regimen. Which of these regimens has proven to be less associated with facial and body wasting?


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 How Should I Decide Whether to Start HIV Meds?
I am a 50-year-old man who seroconverted to HIV positive in January 2008. My CD4 count has consistently been in the 800s and my viral load is 500. I take vitamins and exercise often. I have a close friend who is a well-known doctor and feels strongly about my starting HIV meds while my numbers are good. My own doctor feels I should wait, saying that either a CD4 count below 500 or a viral load above 50,000 warrants starting meds. What other factors should I be paying attention to as I decide?


 Going Off Atripla: What Are the Best Alternatives With the Fewest Pills to Take?
I have been on my first HIV med regimen, Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), for a year. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count has gone up, but I've had problems with my cholesterol levels, recurring rashes, serious depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts (even though everything in my life is great) and intense, wacky dreams that I don't enjoy -- all likely due to the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) in Atripla. Can you suggest other good regimens with low pill burdens for me to talk about with my doctor?


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OTHER HEALTH ISSUES


 What Steps Can I Take to Improve My Gut Health?
I have been HIV positive for six years and I'm not currently taking HIV meds. My CD4 count is around 701 and my viral load varies between 1,000 and undetectable. I was doing fine until recently, when I noticed my stools have been very large and usually dehydrated. If this symptom is caused by HIV's effect on my gut, is there anything I can do to improve my gut integrity?


 Itchy After Starting New Regimen: What Should I Do?
I started taking Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Viramune (nevirapine) about two weeks ago. Since then I've been itching, and the itch has turned into rashes. What should I do about them?


More Questions About Other Health Issues:


HIV TRANSMISSION & DISCLOSURE


 Is It Safe to Bareback if the Other Guy Is Also HIV Positive?
Since I've told guys I'm HIV positive, I've been invited to parties or orgies with other poz guys. I haven't been to one of these parties yet, but I'm curious. I haven't had sex since I learned I was poz because I'm afraid of infecting the other person, even using protection. Is having sex with other poz guys without condoms safe?


 Should HIVers Have to Disclose to All Recent Partners When They Test Positive?
In a poz forum on another site, I recently got blasted for telling a recently diagnosed HIVer that I didn't think he needed to call all his past partners to tell them he'd tested HIV positive, since he said he'd been safe (he thinks he got HIV from a tattoo parlor). Many guys in the forum said all recent partners should immediately be tested, even though the newly diagnosed guy said he'd never had unprotected sex. What do you think?


Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
Starting Meds Tomorrow -- NEED ADVICE!
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I'm suppose to start my regimen tomorrow. I am nervous as hell. I have never taken any medication before. I don't know where to turn. Can someone please give me advice, some hope, some assurance that I will be OK? I have the hardest time swallowing pills; I don't know how I will get through this.

How do people who can't swallow pills take HIV meds? Can pills be crushed? Any stories or suggestions would help me. -- running4it
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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Nature's Candy -- With an HIV Filling?
I ate a whole package of fresh raspberries. One of them had something red in the middle that tasted like blood -- that iron taste. If there was HIV-positive blood in my berry, would still it be infectious because it had been refrigerated?






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