August 3, 2010
Visit the Forums
"Hot Topics" Library
Change/Update Subscription


 Can My Son Be a Nurse Even Though He's HIV Positive?
My son is 24 years old and has an AIDS diagnosis. He's on meds, his viral load is undetectable, his CD4 count is around 300 and he's otherwise very healthy. He's working on a nursing degree and has expressed concern about catching other serious illnesses from his nursing patients. What advice can you give him as he sets off on this career path?

 What Do You Know About rHGH to Treat Lipodystrophy?
I have been HIV positive since at least 1984. I have significant belly fat, as well as wasting in my arms, legs and face. I also have type 2 diabetes. I know there have been studies using rHGH (human growth hormone) to decrease belly fat in HIVers. What's the status of these studies?

Tell us What You Think About "Hot Topics"

What do you like about our weekly "Hot Topics at The Body's 'Ask the Experts' Forums" -- the newsletter you're reading right now -- and what would you rather see less of when you open that weekly e-mail?

Answer three quick questions -- and leave a few comments if you like -- to help us make "Hot Topics" even more useful to our readers!


 Which of These Recommended First-Line Regimens Is Best?
I'm HIV positive with a CD4 count of 500 and a viral load of about 50,000. My doctor gave me a choice between Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for my first-ever HIV med regimen. I chose the latter but stopped after five days because of side effects. Should I go for Atripla now or perhaps try Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada? How can I tell which regimen is right for me?

 What's the Latest on the New "Quad Pill" in Development?
I've read quite a bit about the quad pill but can't find information on whether it's passed phase 3 trials, or if it's on its way to approval. Have you heard any word lately on it?

 How Long Will My Epzicom Side Effects Persist?
I recently switched the Combivir (AZT/3TC) in my regimen for Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa). Three weeks after starting I began to have stomach pains -- sometimes light, sometimes very painful. The drug's package insert says that side effects "usually disappear with time." It's been two weeks since the pains started. How much longer should I wait before I go back to my doc?

More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


 What Happens to HIVers Once Their Thymus Glands Stop Working?
I've probably learned more than I should have about HIV in the 50 days since testing HIV positive. I read that a person's thymus gland produces CD4 cells, but that the gland only works until the age of 45 or 50. What happens then? Does that mean my CD4 count has no hope of going up after that age, even if I'm on treatment?

 Dear Nelson Vergel: Can You Help Me and My Doc Treat My Swollen Parotid Glands?
After several years I've found a radiation oncologist who will perform radiation treatment on the swollen parotid glands in my neck. The problem is she's never done it before. No one that I know of has had the procedure in my home state of Michigan. I feel I, or even she, need to talk to someone before we start. Do you have any suggestions?

More Headlines About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:


 Elite Controller With Declining CD4 Count: What's Going On?
I've been an elite controller -- controlling HIV infection naturally without taking HIV meds -- for the past seven years. Over the past four months my CD4 percentage dropped from 51 to 32.5, and my CD4 count dropped from 710 to 403. My usual undetectable viral load (less than 48 copies) increased to 126. I've had severe insomnia and depression recently, as well as a mild but stubborn sinus infection since January. Do you think my numbers will eventually bounce back, or is this damage permanent? Will I have to start meds soon?

Connect With Others

Is Anyone Out There Like Me?
(A recent post from the "Women" board)

I am a poz lesbian looking for some other poz lesbians to get to know. This is one lonely world my way ... so used to being in the "in" crowd, and slowly upon this news I've backed myself out ... Coming to terms is a bitch, and I am finding it hard to integrate, establish new relationships and be myself ... whoever the hell that is now. If you are, or know, a poz lesbian or bi woman, it'd be nice to connect! -- SaniHalo

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

To do this, you'll need to register with'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!


 Any HIV Risk From Rimming?
I recently allowed a guy to rim me (lick my anus) and give me blow jobs on half a dozen occasions. We didn't use any protection, and I often have some slight bleeding in my anal area from hemorrhoids. Should I be worried?

 Why Do People Keep Saying That Vaginal Sex Is Risky?
The studies I've looked at seem to show that heterosexual HIV infections usually occur in drug users who have risky lifestyles, and transmissions happen when there are additional complications such as lesions on the penis or vagina. It seems that the risk of a heterosexual acquiring HIV from a non-drug user is miniscule. Are straight people who aren't addicted to drugs needlessly being asked to restrict their sexual satisfaction?


 Does My Third-Grade Game of "Doctor" Mean HIV in My Teens?
Eight years ago, when I was in third grade, another third-grader persuaded me to touch her vagina and breasts. Then I believe she touched my penis. I have not been tested for HIV yet, but I am sort of a hypochondriac so I get nervous easily. Is it possible to get HIV just by touching a vagina?


Activist Central

 President Obama: Address the ADAP Crisis!

 Participate in a New Survey on HIV Prevention Strategies Targeting MSM

 NMAC Asks for Your Help Ending S.B. 1070; Promoting Comprehensive Federal Immigration Reform

 Action Alert: Help Homeless AIDS Activist Get Into Housing Today