May 4, 2010
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 Medicare Coverage for Facial Fillers: How Should I Proceed?
When can we expect an end to the waiting period on Medicare's coverage of facial fillers for HIVers? What steps can I take to prepare to get these treatments once they're covered?

 What Are Some Good Exercises for Building Muscles in My Limbs?
Should I start biking to increase muscle volume in my limbs? What are some other exercises that might help?

 Is a Person With an AIDS Diagnosis Automatically Disabled?
I'm trying to get a letter from my physician assistant (PA) at Veterans Affairs stating that I am a disabled person based on my HIV/AIDS diagnosis. When the PA told me that I was not a disabled person, I pointed out that people with HIV are protected by the Americans With Disabilities Act. It seems, however, that I'm "not disabled enough." What are some different disability designations in the U.S., and how do they apply to HIVers?


 Sperm Washing Around the World: What's the Cost?
I am 42 years old and HIV negative, and my husband is HIV positive with a CD4 count of 700 and an undetectable viral load. We'd love to have a baby by artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization. How can we find sperm-washing services in our area, and what do these services usually cost?

 Dear Dr. Bob: Thanks for Helping Us Slay the "Elephant in the Room"
I'm dating an HIV-positive man and I'm HIV negative. Everyone we'd spoken to before said that his HIV status would always be the "elephant in the room," but thanks to your advice we've been able to have a great relationship without his status being an issue. We know the appropriate precautions and our relationship isn't fraught with the anxiety that seems so common in mixed-status relationships. Thanks for the work you do!

Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the May 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Aquarium" 1997; Frank Moore

Visit the May 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Take With Food," is curated by Marisa Cardinale.

 "Successful" Regimen, but With Side Effects: Should I Switch?
I'm a 28-year HIV survivor and I've been taking Epzicom (abacavir/3TC) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) for the past three years. I have 800 to 1,000 T cells, my viral load is undetectable and I've never had problems with any other regimen. However, my lipid levels and blood pressure are high, even on several treatments to control them. I exercise, eat well and am not overweight, so I suspect these effects have to do with my current regimen. Would a switch to Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) reduce these side effects?

 Dosing Problems Are Keeping Me from Taking Meds: What Are My Options?
I have been HIV positive for nine years and on HIV meds for only four of those years. I'm off meds again and my CD4 count has dropped to 14. My main problem is dosing. I can only take meds once a day and cannot guarantee taking them with food. Besides Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), are there any other regimens that include Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) that can be taken once daily without food?

 Could Something Besides HIV Meds Be Causing My Unmanageable Side Effects?
I was diagnosed HIV positive 20 years ago. Since then I've taken a number of available HIV meds, and I've been on Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for the past six years. Although my T-cell count is over 500 and my viral load is undetectable, I'm considering stopping treatment. My side effects -- including fatigue, chronic headaches, dizziness and memory loss -- are no longer manageable. Is stopping HIV meds my only option?

More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Side Effects:


 HIV and Allergies: Can I Safely Take Antihistamines?
What steps can HIVers safely take to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms? Are there any allergy medications that interact with HIV meds?

 How Can I Deal With Severe Bloating?
I've been HIV positive for 29 years and I take Isentress (raltegravir), Selzentry (maraviroc) and Viramune (nevirapine). All is going pretty well in general, but my stomach is unbearably bloated and I think it's leading to other problems. What can I do to get some relief?

Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
After a Lifetime With HIV, Looking for HIV-Positive Female Friends
(A recent post from the "Women" board)

I was born HIV positive. I am happily married with a 12-month-old son. As a child I attended Camp Heartland (for kids affected by HIV) every year and I miss being around other people that have HIV like I do. Just looking for someone I can relate with! Does anyone have any advice? -- newmom09
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 If My Viral Load Is Low, Does This Lower My Risk for Inflammation-Related Conditions?
Does an undetectable viral load indicate low levels of HIV-associated inflammation, which may contribute to risk for pulmonary hypertension and other conditions?

 Is It Possible to Restore T Cells When I Have None?
I am 53 years old and was diagnosed with HIV 11 years ago. I haven't been on HIV meds for several years and my T-cell count is zero. My other blood work shows terrible results as well. I'm worried about possible side effects if I start taking meds again. If I do so, will it be possible to restore T cells and improve my situation or will I just get sicker?


 First Positive, Then Negative: Miracle -- or Autoimmune Condition?
My partner believed she was HIV positive for a year. She'd had three previous screening tests come up positive. She finally faced her fears and went to the HIV clinic to confirm her diagnosis -- and we were told she's HIV negative. The doctor suggested that the false positives may have been caused by my partner's lupus. What do you think? Have you heard of this before?


 Could I Be the First Person Ever to Get HIV Through Frottage?
I had frottage (body-to-body rubbing) with a guy I don't know. We both kept our underwear on the whole time, but I had some broken skin on my penis from masturbating myself too hard earlier that day. Could pre-cum have seeped through both our underwear and onto my injured penis, putting me at risk for HIV?

More Strange but True Questions:

Activist Central

 Join a Rally in Washington, D.C., on May 19 to Call for Hepatitis Program Funding

 An Open Letter Calling on International Agencies to Support Amnesty for Maksim Popov

 May 5: Join a Call to Learn About How Health Reform Impacts HIV-Positive Women

 China: Release Activist on Medical Parole

 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