August 17, 2010
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MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 How Can We Keep My New Boyfriend Safe?
I'm HIV positive and have had an undetectable for well over a year, and my new boyfriend is HIV negative. What else can we do to keep him HIV negative in addition to using condoms? Should we keep a few doses of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) on hand, just in case? What do you know about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)? Does the fact that my boyfriend is very large increase the risk of condom failure?


 Husband Just Diagnosed With HIV: Do I Definitely Have It?
I recently found out my husband is HIV positive. We don't have an active sex life -- we've only had sex a few times in the past year and a half. I know it only takes one exposure to become HIV positive, but is there any chance at all that I'm still HIV negative?


LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Do Older Folks Have Slower Responses to HIV Meds?
I'm 55 years old and just started taking my first-ever HIV med regimen of Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) in mid-March. At that time my viral load was 8,000 and my CD4 count was 340. Since then my viral load has dropped to undetectable but my CD4 count has only gone up to 360, and my CD4 percentage is 27.1. Is it normal for older HIVers to respond slowly to meds?


 What's the Holdup on a Therapeutic Vaccine for HIV-Positive People?
Since I started taking HIV meds two weeks ago I've been reading about research into therapeutic vaccines for HIV-positive people. They sound great to me since I hate taking meds every day, but they all seem to be stuck in early phases. Why is it taking so long for a vaccine to be approved? When can we expect to see one on the market? Can you explain a bit more about how such a vaccine would work?


More Questions About Living With HIV/AIDS:


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HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 What Is Multidrug Resistance -- and Will My Virus Develop It?
I'm 26 years old and 100 percent adherent to Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). How is it possible that some people's viruses are already developing resistance to new HIV meds like Isentress (raltegravir)? Will my HIV eventually become resistant to Atripla and every other HIV med I take? How does multidrug resistance work?


 Would It Be All Right to Go "On and Off" HIV Meds?
I started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) a few weeks back, with 380 CD4 cells and a viral load of 10,000, and I'm doing great so far -- no side effects whatsoever. I've heard that most HIV drug resistance occurs in folks who have been taking meds for a long time. Once my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count goes up, wouldn't it be a good idea for me to plan on taking a yearlong break from Atripla every few years?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Anal Pap Smears for HIVers: What's the Protocol?
I was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS several years ago, at age 50, and have responded really well to treatment. I'd never been offered an anal Pap smear, so I asked for one recently. The results showed low-grade abnormalities that are awaiting biopsy. Is there a standard protocol for anal Pap smears for HIV-positive men?


 Will My Bone Density Go Up if I Switch HIV Meds?
I'm a 43-year-old man who's been HIV positive for about six years and on HIV meds for five. I now take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and have taken several other regimens that include Viread (tenofovir). In the last two years I've had several suspected rib fractures. I had a bone density (DEXA) scan and have now been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Besides taking Viread I have no other risk factors, so I'm switching to Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Ziagen (abacavir). I'm also taking calcium and vitamin D. What else can I do? Will my bone density increase once I've changed meds?


UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What Are "Normal" CD4 Counts and Percentages for an HIVer?
I was diagnosed HIV positive in 2004 with a CD4 count of 51. Since starting HIV meds my CD4 count has stabilized at about 500 and my viral load has been undetectable since 2006. My CD4 percentage is 16.9 at the moment. Is there a "normal" or desirable CD4 count and percentage that one should aim for? Are my counts normal, or too low?


Connect With Others

My Partner Is Letting HIV Run His Life: What Will Bring Him Out of His Shell?
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

I've been dating someone who's HIV positive. No sex yet. He's a really great guy but he's letting this disease take over his life. He takes meds like he's supposed to, but his life is a shell of how it used to be. He stays inside all the time. And I mean all the time. He's also afraid of a relationship. Any suggestions how I can get him to come out into the world again? -- dgirl

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STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Great Ways to Spend Your Lunch Break at Work?
I used the handle of a spoon as a dildo. I forgot to wash the handle before I used it but it didn't look dirty. While using it I got a cut around my anus, which bled a little. The spoon was in a kitchen drawer at a busy workplace. I'm pretty sure nobody'd touched it for at least an hour. Any risk of HIV if somebody with a cut on their hand touched the spoon an hour before I stuck it in my butt?



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