August 31, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Recently Diagnosed and Extremely Anxious: How Can I Cope?
I'm a heterosexual jock with a gorgeous girlfriend, and I recently tested HIV positive. I've been feeling horrible ever since. I thought my girlfriend would dump me when I told her, but she's been amazing. She's tested negative so far, and we've decided not to tell anyone about my diagnosis. Today I was home alone in my bedroom and my heart started racing, I got sweaty and couldn't breathe or move. I might have even blacked out for a bit. It was the most terrifying feeling of my life. What's happening to me?


 Dear Dr. McGowan: When Was Your 88-Year-Old Patient Diagnosed With HIV?
In a recent forum response you mentioned you see an 88-year-old HIVer in your medical practice. How long has that person been HIV positive? If she or he has had the virus since the 1980s and lived to be 88, knowing that would be an inspiration for your readers.


BEYOND HIV/AIDS MEDICATIONS


 Which Supplements Will Provide the Most "Bang" for the Fewest Bucks?
I'm on a limited income and don't have a lot of extra money to spend on vitamins, which aren't covered by insurance. If I had to pick just a few supplements to take that would be affordable and provide the most benefit, what would you recommend?


 HIV, Hepatitis B, Atripla and P90X Post-Workout Drink: Any Problems?
Is it safe to use P90X Results and Recovery Formula while taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC)? I consume two scoops of the nutrient-rich drink with water once daily after working out. Could this formula cause Atripla drug levels to decrease -- or affect my undetectable hepatitis B viral load?


"This Positive Life" Video Series

Far too many people with HIV live in isolation, dealing with their diagnoses, medical visits, meds, health issues and stigma all by themselves.

Each month, TheBody.com's This Positive Life video series will bring you two new interviews to watch (or read!). These inspiring videos feature HIVers from all walks of life as they talk about what it means to live -- and live well -- with HIV.


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Can I Take a Yearlong Break From HIV Meds?
I've been HIV positive for four years and on HIV meds for three and a half years. I'm 50 years old, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 550. I eat well, exercise and feel great, health-wise, but recent changes in my career have been mentally exhausting. I'd love to take a year off to travel, but I keep working in fear of losing my insurance. Can't I just take a year off from HIV meds so I won't need insurance?


 High Viral Load and Low CD4 Count in Acute Infection: Should I Start Meds?
I had an HIV-negative test result on June 28 and had been tested consistently for years beforehand. I got sick in July and was diagnosed HIV positive at the end of the month with a CD4 count of 158 and a viral load of 3 million. My counts have improved somewhat since then, but my doctor wants me to start HIV meds. I didn't expect to need meds so soon. Won't my CD4 count go up further on its own?


 When Should an HIV-Positive Woman Start Meds When Planning a Pregnancy?
I know a 35-year-old HIV-positive woman with a CD4 count of 820 and a viral load of 1,897. She's not on HIV meds but her husband, who's also positive, has been taking meds for eight months. When should this woman start taking meds if she's planning to get pregnant, and how should she choose her regimen?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Will My HIV Med Switch Ever Have an Effect on My Neuropathy?
I took Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC), Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Zerit (stavudine, d4T) for a year, but I developed peripheral neuropathy so I switched out the Epivir and Zerit for Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). It's been two months now and the neuropathy isn't getting better and the pain is sometimes unbearable. Is there anything else I can do?


 Are Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections Safe for HIVers With Orthopedic Injuries?
There's a procedure called platelet-rich plasma injection that's becoming common in orthopedic procedures, in which a sample of a person's blood is drawn and spun down to concentrate the platelets. These are then re-injected into the wounded area, the thinking being that the oxygen-rich platelets help speed healing. Would there be an issue doing this procedure on an HIV-positive person?


Connect With Others

Taking Meds -- and Hating the Daily Reminder That I Have HIV
(A recent post from the "Treatment" board)

I started HIV meds two weeks ago because my viral load was 100,000 and my CD4 count dropped to below 500. I don't have any physical issues with meds -- it's more emotional. It's a twice-daily reminder of HIV, and before I could forget about it for a while. Has anyone else ever felt this way about taking meds? -- frank74

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS & TESTING


 Why Isn't My Viral Load Undetectable After 8 Weeks on HIV Meds?
I was diagnosed in early HIV infection in April and started taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) in June. My viral load when I started meds was 690,000 and my CD4 count was 154. Four weeks later my viral load was 296 and my CD4 count was 300. At the eight-week mark my viral load was 128 and my CD4 count was 278. Since I made such good progress after four weeks, shouldn't my viral load be undetectable by now?


 What's the Deal With False-Negative HIV Tests?
What is the likelihood of someone receiving a false-negative HIV test result? What could cause a test to be a false negative?


More Questions About Understanding HIV/AIDS Labs & Testing:


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Could a Neighborly Mosquito Deliver a Shot of HIV to My Eye?
Are there any flying insects that can transmit HIV right after they bite an HIVer? A bug flew into my eye recently. If the bug had come directly from biting my neighbor, who's HIV positive, could I be infected?



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