October 5, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Can I Raise My Levels of "Good Cholesterol"?
My "bad cholesterol" (low-density lipoprotein, or LDL) is low, but so is my "good cholesterol" (high-density lipoprotein, or HDL), and it's been that way for a while. What does HDL do, and what steps can I take to increase my HDL level?


 Why Does the AIDS Diagnosis Stick, Even When an HIVer's Condition Improves?
If a person's CD4 count bounces back up above 200, or they beat an opportunistic infection, they're still considered to have AIDS. Why is that? Why, when I haven't had an AIDS-related illness in 17 years and my CD4 count is 920, do I still have an AIDS diagnosis when I simply have HIV disease?


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 My Partner Loves Poppers: Are They Risky for Me?
I'm HIV positive, my partner is negative and we practice safe sex. My partner loves poppers and other inhalants. I don't care for them but when we get "rough and tumble" he pulls them out. I figure that whatever he's inhaling, so am I, so I'm wondering how safe inhalants are for HIV-positive folks. Do you have any information about this?


 Blow Job With Bleeding Gums During PEP: Should I Extend My Course?
I had a case of broken condom with my HIV-positive boyfriend. I immediately started on post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), which is what my boyfriend takes. Ten days into PEP, he performed oral sex on me, and the next morning we discovered that his mouth was bleeding and that my penis had come in contact with his blood. Should I take PEP for 10 more days (38 total)?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the October 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Untitled (Physician Desk Ref. #1)," 1993; Gin Louie

Visit the October 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "OSC: Obsessive Sex Collecting," is curated by Sarah Forbes.
BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Does Medicaid Cover Lipoatrophy Treatments As Well As Medicare?
If treatment for facial wasting is now supposed to be covered by Medicaid, why do all my doctors say they know nothing about it?


 What's the Next Step in Making Sure Medicare Makes Facial Fillers More Accessible?
I consulted with a trusted specialist who told me she doesn't know of any plastic surgeons or dermatologists in our state that even accept Medicare. Why don't doctors want to accept Medicare for facial fillers, and what would need to happen to make them more willing?


HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING


 Now That My Partner and I Are Both HIV Positive, Do We Still Need to Use Condoms?
I was recently diagnosed with HIV, which I contracted through unprotected sex with my partner (I've known he was positive since before we were in a relationship). Now that we are both positive, is it still necessary to use condoms? I understand the potential risk of reinfection if I have unsafe sex with another positive person, but what if it's the person whose virus I was initially infected with?


 Is the Blood Donation Center Telling Me I'm HIV Positive?
I donated blood earlier this year. After some time I received a letter from the blood donation center telling me that I could no longer donate blood because I had a "reactive" result on my specimen. Does this mean I'm HIV positive? What should I do next?


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 What's Up With the Study of Cancer Drugs to Treat HIV?
I heard about a recent study using two cancer drugs to effectively force the HIV virus to mutate itself to death, or so the article I read said. Are there further studies in the works to see how this information could be used to treat or even cure HIV?


 Do HIV Meds Affect Digestion?
Does taking HIV meds have an effect on the way a person's body digests food?


 Are There Any Interactions Between Cocaine and HIV Meds?
I have a client who's taking Intelence (etravirine), Isentress (raltegravir), Norvir (ritonavir) and Prezista (darunavir) and also uses cocaine. Are there serious interactions between coke and these HIV meds? What other issues should I consider as a clinician?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


Connect With Others

Just Diagnosed and Feeling the Need to Share
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I am positive. It's a very terrible thing that I never ever imagined in my life. I don't know what I should do now. I do not believe much in the treatment in my country, but I know I have to do anything I can to make my life last the longest that it could. For anyone with a project in Viet Nam, or just some kind words to help me, please answer me! I need to see the light so I can have hope. -- PeacePhan

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OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Never Finished My Course of Syphilis Treatment: Should I Be Worried Now?
I was infected with syphilis about a year ago. I had treatment at the time it was discovered, but I didn't go back for my second set of penicillin shots because my symptoms were gone. Earlier this year I found out I still have it. I've had another set of shots, but I now have a chancre of some sort on the tip of my penis. Should I be concerned?


 Alcoholic With Liver Problems: Should I Switch Meds to Reduce Liver Damage?
I'm HIV positive and I started meds with Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Viramune (nevirapine) in February. I'm also an alcoholic. I've tried everything to control my alcoholism, from detox to Alcoholics Anonymous, but nothing's worked; it seems I'm stuck with both HIV and alcoholism, for now at least. My last tests showed an undetectable viral load, but my CD4 count has dropped from 540 to 350 and my liver function tests were off the charts. Should I consider switching meds if my liver function continues to decline and my CD4 count doesn't improve? What else can I do?


UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Can You Explain PCR Testing?
I've seen many posts on these forums referring to PCR testing for HIV. What is the purpose of the PCR test? Is there ever a reason to take a PCR test beyond the six-month mark when an antibody test would be conclusive at that point?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Soap and Water Reduce HIV Risk! ... Right?
I had sex with the UPS man who delivers to my work. I was alone in the office one day and we ended up hooking up. It was sort of spur of the moment and we didn't have a condom so he washed his penis with soap and water first. He told me he washed off anything unsafe. Knowing that his penis had just been cleaned, how risky was this encounter?






Activist Central

 Join a Facebook and Twitter Campaign to Fight NY Gov. Paterson's Rent Cap Veto!


 NIAID to Host Public Meeting on Future HIV/AIDS Research Networks


 Action Alert: Say NO to Abstinence-Only Sex Education


 President Obama: Address the ADAP Crisis!


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


 Action Alert: Help Homeless AIDS Activist Get Into Housing Today