October 12, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Which Kind of Vitamin D Should I Take?
I know that it's important for HIVers to take vitamin D supplements if their levels are low. Are there different forms of vitamin D; and if so, which one is best at raising blood levels of this vitamin?


 Are Diet Soft Drinks Better for Me Than the Sugary Kind?
I drink a lot of water each day; however, I also consume about four 12-ounce soft drinks per day. A few years ago I switched to diet soft drinks. I lost 10 pounds from that switch, but I craved sweets and gained back the 10 pounds plus about 10 more, so I switched back to regular soft drinks. I've been reading about how diet drinks are bad for our bodies, and may be even worse for us HIVers. What do you think? Do you have any ideas for alternatives to soft drinks?


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 What Do You Know About Treatments for Lipohypertrophy?
I am dealing with a case of lipohypertrophy (fat gain). It seems whenever I research body shape changes, all I find is information about lipoatrophy treatments. Are there any successful treatments for visceral fat gain in HIVers? Wasn't the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about to approve a drug to treat this condition? What's going on with that?


 What Are the Challenges to Using Silicone to Treat Buttock Lipoatrophy?
As an alternative to PMMA (polymethyl-methacrylate, also known as Articol, Artefill or Metacrill) to treat my buttock wasting, my plastic surgeon suggested we use Sculptra (poly-L-lactic acid, New-Fill) with silicone -- the same concoction he's used to plump up my face three times so far, with good results. Do you see any problems with this approach?


TRANSMISSION OF HIV & HEPATITIS


 Two Poz Partners, One With Hepatitis C: What's the Concern in Sex Without Condoms?
I'm HIV positive, and my partner has HIV as well as hepatitis C. My CD4 count is 550 and his is 540; we both have HIV-1. We're very much in love and we'd like to have sex with no condoms, but my partner is scared of passing hep C to me. Doesn't my having been vaccinated against hepatitis for the past eight years -- and the fact that my partner's hep C has been dormant for two years -- put me at less risk of acquiring that virus?


 Are HIV Test Results Reliable While Taking PEP?
I accidentally had unprotected sex with a stripper. Though I ended up contracting a sexually transmitted disease from this encounter, I'd gone on post-exposure prophylaxis with AZT (zidovudine, Retrovir) within three hours of my exposure, and added Viread (tenofovir) within 12 hours. I had two negative PCR test results within 28 days of the exposure; and a third PCR test, along with an HIV antibody test, came back negative at 61 days. How reliable are all these test results?


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the October 2010 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"A Day in The Life," 2001; Curtis Carman

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.
HIV/AIDS TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS


 Is Truvada Truly Dangerous for HIVers' Kidneys?
I'm about to start taking Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), but I've been hearing a lot lately about kidney issues with the Viread (tenofovir) in Truvada. How common are kidney issues on this med -- and among HIVers in general? Is the potential damage reversible? Are there signs or symptoms to watch out for once I start Truvada? Which lab tests should I take to monitor my kidney function?


 Recent Israeli Study Involving Viral Genes: Big News for HIVers?
Can you explain a bit about the recent report by Israeli researchers studying a treatment that could potentially work alongside effective HIV meds, killing leftover viral genes inside cells once the meds have suppressed HIV? Is this big news in the treatment of HIV?


 Could My HIV Meds Cause Eczema?
I've been on HIV meds since 1985 and taking Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir) for almost a decade. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is about 300. For the last three years I've suffered from chronic eczema (dry skin). My dermatologist thinks my HIV meds are the cause, but my HIV doctor disagrees and won't put me on other meds. What do you think?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Side Effects:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 If My HIV Is Stable, Why Am I Always Sick?
I'm 15 years old, I was born HIV positive and I take Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin). My last four lab results showed CD4 counts of 630, 580, 487 and now 502. I went from undetectable to a viral load of 620. I'm also sick a lot (colds, bladder infection, thrush, etc.). I feel like everyone tells me everything's OK just to keep me happy but I want to know the truth: Do you think I'm becoming resistant to my meds? Why am I always sick?


 What Effect Does Testosterone Supplementation Have on the Prostate?
I'm 50 years old and I just started using testosterone gel. My friends have been telling me to be careful of prostate cancer, and now I'm afraid. What can testosterone use do to a person's prostate?


 Knocked Out by the Common Cold: A Multiple-Choice Question
I'm 45 years old and have been HIV positive for five years. I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for about two and a half years, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is in the low 600s. I usually feel great and only get colds and such a couple of times a year, but when I do get sick it knocks me on my butt for several days. Do you think this is a side effect of HIV, my meds, aging -- or none of the above?


More Questions About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:


Connect With Others

The Person Who Infected Me Has Been Arrested: Should I Come Forward Too?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

Five years ago I was infected by someone who I initially had consensual sex with. After the consensual sex I was forcibly raped by this person who knew full well he was infected. I found out I was infected shortly thereafter.

Today I was reading some old news articles and saw that the person who did this to me was arrested and has been charged with knowingly infecting some other people this year.

Should I come forward? God if I came forward then could I have stopped this person? Now what good will me coming forward five years later be? I don't hate this person but I have anger and I'm sick that he has been doing this for five years to others. The only positive I could see of me coming forward would be to make sure this person is stopped from doing what he has been doing but maybe those who have come forward now will be enough ...

I've come to terms with my diagnosis and I guess accepted my responsibility in the whole ordeal. I'm just really in shock right now and don't know what to do. Can anyone offer any advice or maybe shed some light on something I haven't seen? -- livesinadream

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NEWS & VIEWS


 Why Is HIV Testing Not Required Worldwide?
As the three-month mark for my post-exposure HIV test draws near, one question's been bugging me: Why is HIV testing not yet compulsory? Are there certain countries where it is? That method might encourage people to talk more about HIV, and it would become a more "normal" illness for people who might otherwise think they can only get HIV from having sex with "dodgy" people, as many still foolishly believe. Do you think required HIV testing would be a good approach to eradicating HIV worldwide?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Dangers of the Gag Reflex: Can Barf on My Penis Transmit HIV?
What are the chances of getting HIV if a female vomits on your penis during oral sex?






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