May 18, 2010
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MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 When It Comes to HIV Risk, What's the Difference Between My Mouth and My Anus?
I'm HIV positive. My partner, who's HIV negative, wants to top (be the insertive partner in anal sex) because he says there'd be very low risk of him becoming HIV positive. I know tops get infected, but every "total top" I know keeps testing negative, even after years of bareback sex. How risky are unprotected anal and oral sex for an HIV-negative top with an HIV-positive partner? What happens in the butt versus the mouth that makes it possible for an insertive partner to be infected with HIV?


HIV/AIDS & BODY SHAPE CHANGES


 How Do I Deal With Sculptra Nodules in My Face?
I have developed several visible nodules on my face from Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) treatments. One of them is rather large. It appeared a few months after treatment and has been there about eight months. Can I expect it to disappear eventually? Is there anything I can do to get rid of it?


 Is My Serostim Dose Too High for Me?
I'm 38 years old and I tested HIV positive about two years ago. I started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) right away, and four months later I was undetectable with a CD4 count of 475. I've recently gotten a big belly, and I started taking the growth hormone Serostim to reduce it. The prescribed dose was a daily 5 mg injection. After two weeks I started to feel pain in my fingers and jaw, and some tightness in my abdomen; I was also bloated and having flu symptoms. I stopped taking Serostim for two days and in that time my symptoms started to go away. My doctor told me to keep taking it as prescribed, but I'm worried that the dose might be too high for me. I'm also concerned because my most recent labs showed my viral load was 220 and I read online that Serostim can increase viral load. What do you think?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the May 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Untitled" 1972; Joe Brainard

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.
LIVING IN THE AGE OF HIV/AIDS


 Can I Try Going Back to Work Without Losing My Disability Benefits?
I have been on Social Security Disability since March 2007 due to cognitive issues from HIV and meningitis. Although it's only been three years, it's been the longest three years of my life! I feel worthless collecting a check every month after having a career as a journeyman electrician. My physical health is fine now, and I'd like to try doing a stay-at-home job on my computer to see how it goes. Is it possible for me to do this for a trial period without losing my benefits?


 How Do I Get Off the Red Cross' "No Donate" List?
I used to be a regular platelet donor for the Red Cross. Last time I donated, I got a letter from them that they had detected HIV antibodies in my blood. I had no risk factors, so I wasn't worried; my confirmatory test the next day was negative. Clearly the Red Cross goofed up. I've appealed to them to let me donate platelets again (I donate via direct transfusion to my cousin, who has aplastic anemia), but they refused and have put me on a "no donate list"! What can I do?


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS


 What Can I Do to Raise My CD4 Count?
I was diagnosed with HIV in 2001. I started on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) two and a half years ago with a CD4 count of 260 and a viral load over 200,000. My viral load is now undetectable and my CD4 count stabilized; however, it's always between 290 and 360, and never, ever gets any higher. My doctor seems unconcerned with this, but it doesn't give me a lot of wiggle-room if things start to decline. Is there anything else I can do, in addition to taking meds, to bring my CD4 count up?


 Will My Sleep Troubles on Isentress Ever Go Away?
I recently switched my HIV med regimen of two years -- from Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) to Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada. Today is my 12th day on Isentress, and all is fine but my sleep. Since starting Isentress I've only been getting about four hours of light sleep per night. I'm already taking Lunesta (eszopiclone) nightly, but the Isentress is trumping the sleep aid. Is this a temporary effect while my body adjusts to the new med?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Side Effects:


Pride 2010 @ TheBody.com

LGBT Pride Month is approaching in June, and we want you to commemorate the month with us!

Our challenge for you: Send us a photo in which you're holding (or sitting next to, or standing on top of, or ... you get the idea) a homemade sign telling us what Pride means to you. You can either follow our template (seen to the right) or make your own sign. Click here to find out how to take part!
Pride Means...


UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Why Can't I Get Rid of Those Last 100 Copies of HIV?
I've been on Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) since June 2009. At the time I started taking meds I'd been HIV positive for five years. I started with a CD4 count of 450 and a viral load of 37,000 copies. My CD4 count as of today is 798 and my viral load is at 114 copies. I seem to be stable at these numbers. Why isn't my virus undetectable yet?


Connect With Others

HIV Positive With a Negative Partner: Anyone Else Out There Like Me?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I am HIV positive -- my partner is not. Is there anyone out there who can talk with me about how they handled this situation and if it's even possible to keep the relationship going? I have always thought poz men should/would only date poz men ... and now I'm not sure if I can make this work. -- TheLivingTree

Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an e-mail address) -- click here to get started!



STRANGE BUT TRUE


 HIV Prevention Tips From a "Cunning Linguist"
I like licking a woman's vagina. I think I have a safe solution that doesn't require latex or Saran Wrap, which take the joy out of cunnilingus. How about pouring chocolate or strawberry jam over the vaginal area? I've heard HIV is fragile; would these toppings kill HIV, making "lunch at the Y" a virus-free affair?






Activist Central

 Sign On to Support Use of Prevention and Wellness Fund for HIV Prevention


 AIDS Watch at Home 2010: Make Congress Listen Right in Your Own Backyard


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


 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