Got questions about living with HIV/AIDS? Check out the listing below for some of the most useful reader questions and expert answers from TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" forums on topics of concern to gay men. And if you don't see your questions below -- or on one of our other frequently asked questions pages -- you can e-mail your questions to TheBody.com's team of HIV/AIDS experts!
Taking HIV Meds and Other Health Issues | Sexual Risk and HIV Transmission | Insurance and Legal Issues | Anal Cancers, HPV and HIV | Mixed-Status Couples | Serosorting | Nutrition and Fitness | Other Complications of HIV
Taking HIV Meds and Other Health Issues
- If someone controls their virus without medication for five years, does that mean they will have a normal life span once they start their meds?
- I keep reading that the new drugs have few side effects. If I am going to be on treatment for many years anyway, why should I wait to start instead of treating immediately?
- Could starting HIV treatment shortly after being infected protect my immune system from long-term damage?
- What are the pros and cons of taking Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC)? This is my third year on meds, but I'm not sure if I should switch to something else. My CD4 count is in the 700s and my viral load is undetectable.
- 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 says testosterone replacement is 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's right?
- 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?
- I've been on Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) since June 2009. 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?
- How can I tell if Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) is right for me?
- Which erection enhancers can I take with my HIV meds?
- What steps can HIVers safely take to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms? Are there any allergy medications that interact with HIV meds?
- Dear Nelson Vergel: I just started taking Testopel (testosterone pellets). As a long-term HIV survivor yourself, can you elaborate on your own experience taking it? How frequently do you suggest having testosterone levels tested? When should I have more pellets inserted?
- My partner and I are both HIV positive. I had what was probably a severe allergic reaction to abacavir sulfate (Ziagen) and was advised never to take Ziagen again. Now my partner's taking it, and we've read that small amounts of Ziagen are present in semen. If I give him unprotected oral sex and I ingest semen, could I potentially develop an allergic reaction?
- Due to fatigue, I would like to take a drug holiday. How long is safe? What are the risks?
Read frequently asked questions on starting treatment, life expectancy, CD4 counts and viral load testing.
Sexual Risk and HIV Transmission
Read more frequently asked questions on HIV risks.
Insurance and Legal Issues
Read more frequently asked questions on insurance.
Anal Cancers, HPV and HIV
Read more about anal cancer and HIV/AIDS.
Read more frequently asked questions on mixed-status relationships.
Ask TheBody.com's safer sex expert, Robert Frascino, M.D., questions about serosorting.
Read more frequently asked questions on HIV superinfection.
Nutrition and Fitness
Ask TheBody.com's nutrition and exercise expert, Nelson Vergel, questions about fitness.
Other Complications of HIV
Ask Keith Henry, M.D., TheBody.com's expert on managing side effects, about complications of HIV and HIV meds.
Read frequently asked questions on other HIV/AIDS topics.
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