LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS
How Do Experts Determine the "Average" Lifespan for HIVers?
I've known my HIV-positive status for about 15 months. I recently read about a study showing that HIVers will probably live about 20 years less than their HIV-negative counterparts. I know the study results don't necessarily apply to me personally for a large number of reasons. But I also hear about all these long-term HIV survivors who end up with liver, kidney, heart and brain issues that can shorten their lives. I'm starting to worry that I might not see my 50th or 60th birthday. What do you think about the lifespan issue?
Now That My CD4 Count Is Up, Can I Stop My HIV Meds?
In 2002, I started HIV medications when my CD4 count was lower than 200. Now my CD4 count is over 500 and my viral load is undetectable. However, these tablets make me feel as if I'm high all day; my focus, memory and balance have gone haywire. I think a lot about stopping my meds completely. What do you think?
Headaches and Rash on Atripla: What Do I Do?
I have been on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for about seven weeks. I initially had no side affects besides a strange dream or two. But moving into week four, I have had to take Advil twice or more a day because I get the worst headaches. I'm also feeling sleepy more often than ever before and I regularly suffer from muscle fatigue. Lastly, I have a minor, non-itchy rash from my collarbone to my knees. Is there anything I can do to treat these side effects, or do I need to switch regimens?
Can I Eliminate One of the Meds From My Regimen?
I am a 45-year-old, HIV-positive man and I'm quite fit and healthy. I started taking Isentress (raltegravir), Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) when my CD4 count was only 100 and my viral load was very high. My CD4 count is now 500 and my viral load is undetectable. I've been on this regimen for a year with no big problems. Now that I'm doing better, can I stop taking the Kaletra? If I did this and my viral load went up, could I go back on it at the same dose I now take?
More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:
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How Can I Make Sure My HPV Infection Doesn't Turn Into Anal Cancer?
I was diagnosed with HIV 19 years ago and have never had a low CD4 count or a detectable viral load. I have human papillomavirus (HPV), though, and I've had lesions removed from my anus twice in the past 15 years. What kind of follow-up should I do for my HPV to make sure it doesn't turn into anal cancer?
Does Testosterone Replacement Really Help People With HIV?
I have been taking testosterone replacement treatments (most recently Androgel) for many years to treat the negative effects of HIV and HIV meds. However, my new doctor recommends against testosterone replacement: He says it is ultimately bad for HIV-positive people because the risks are too great and there are no benefits. This is completely opposite my prior doctors' advice for the past 10-plus years. Who is right?
More Questions About Health Issues:
UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS
Could HIV Meds Make My CD4 Count Go Up Higher Than It Was Before I Was Infected?
I know there's no way to tell what my CD4 count was before I had HIV, but can HIV meds raise someone's CD4 count above pre-infection levels? Is there such a thing as a "maximum" CD4 count, or can it just keep climbing?
A Teething Baby Bit Me! Did I Put It at Risk?
About a month ago my 8-month-old nephew bit my face while playing. He is currently teething and has razor-sharp teeth. After the incident, I checked my face and there was a small (pinhead-sized) amount of blood on my face. Although a part of me says, "Don't worry, it was a tiny bite, you are in treatment with stable counts, and there was an insignificant amount of blood," the other part of me is very concerned about the incident and a possible HIV exposure for my nephew. Should we have him tested?
Leaving the U.S.: Will I Ever Find a Country That Accepts Me?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)
"All I want is someone to share my life with. ... I have a responsibility to tell guys I am positive, and that always scares them off ... so I figure I should indulge my passions and do what I have always wanted to do: leave the United States. But now, I discover that there are no nations that I can find that will take an HIV-positive person.
"I am gainfully employed and good at what I do, with a degree, etc. ... The only assistance that I have is with my medication, because I cannot afford it. ... Now, I understand that even if I were paying for my own medications, that I can STILL be denied entry to most nations because of my status. Has anyone else encountered this? What can I do?"
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NEWS & VIEWS
Is HIV/AIDS a "Gay Disease"?
Dr. Bob: How come all of the advertisements and pictures on TheBody.com show gay men together? You and all of the other people who are trying to scare heterosexuals have said that it is not a gay disease, yet all of the visuals on this Web site show gay couples "caring" for each other. Why does the homosexual community feel it is necessary to burden the entire community with what is obviously a "gay disease"?
STRANGE BUT TRUE
Now on Sale at Wal-Mart: HIV, $1.99 per Syringe
Even though it was late at night and I was creeped out, I let a friend convince me to go with him to a Wal-Mart. As I was walking, I felt a burning sensation in my thigh. Later, my friend suggested it was because I rubbed up against a needle lying on a shelf, or got stuck with it by someone in the store. Is he right? Should I get tested?