December 7, 2010
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MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 How Have I Stayed HIV Negative -- and How Can I Keep It That Way?
My partner and I have been together for 11 years. He's HIV positive and I'm negative. He has had an undetectable viral load the whole time we've been together. In addition to the usual safer sex techniques, should I press my doctor to prescribe PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to me? Also, in our time together there have been a number of times when I've been exposed, yet I remain HIV negative. Should someone like me join a vaccination study?


LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 After Many Years of Group Insurance, How Do I Choose a Policy?
I'm HIV positive and have had group health insurance coverage since I was in my 20s (I'm now 45). I've been presented with an opportunity to join a start-up, which could turn out to be very lucrative. They don't offer group insurance yet, but they reimburse you a certain amount each month toward an individual plan. Are there certain insurance brokers that are sensitive to HIV-positive people's issues? Do the big plans offer anything for HIV-positive people?


 What Do I Need to Know to Have a Healthy Pregnancy?
My viral load is 9,069 and my CD4 count is 550. I'm not yet taking medications as my doctor says my CD4 count is still good, but I plan to have a baby. What should I know before I get pregnant?


strangest but truest of 2010: you make the call

We're 30 years into the HIV epidemic, yet a shocking number of people still don't know the first thing about HIV. You've seen some of that ignorance firsthand right here in the "Strange but True" section of our Hot Topics newsletters.

So we've scoured our "Ask the Experts" forums and nominated 10 posts we feel are the "best of the worst" of 2010 -- the "strangest but truest." They're some of the most outrageous questions we've seen people ask about HIV this year. Some are ridiculous, some are sad, many are hilarious -- and we share them with you as reminders of how far we still have to go in educating the world about HIV.

Now it's up to you: Which of our 10 finalists represents the most bizarre post from our "Ask the Experts" forums during the past year? You have two weeks to cast your vote for the strangest but truest post of 2010!


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS


 Memory Loss: Are My Meds to Blame?
I've been on a generic form of Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for about eight months and I've just noticed that my memory has drastically deteriorated. I forget simple things and sometimes get very embarrassed when it happens at work. Could this have to do with my meds?


 Extended Business Trip Turned Unwanted Drug Holiday: What Should I Do?
I was supposed to travel overseas on business for seven days but it ended up being 21. When I left the U.S. I only brought an eight-day supply of meds. Now that I'm home, should I go back on meds immediately or contact my doctor to take a resistance test first?


 Sleep Problems: Is It Anxiety or Meds?
I just started Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I've been taking it on an empty stomach right before bed. My doctor also gave me lorazepam (Ativan) for my anxiety and a generic form of Xanax (alprazolam) to help me sleep. However, I usually wake up around 2 and 4:30 a.m. What could be causing this? Am I on a good combination of meds?


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Living Silently With HIV for 20+ Years: Should I Tell My Doc Now That I Have Diabetes Too?
I was diagnosed with HIV in 1988, but I never told my doctors and have never been on any HIV medications. I've been in for physicals and everything has been good, but I recently found out I have diabetes. Now I'm wondering if I should tell my doctor I have HIV. Because of what I saw others going through, I never wanted to deal with being positive. What should I do now?


 Will Atripla Help Heal My Skin Condition?
I've never been on HIV meds before, but because of various conditions, including severe dermatitis, I am about to start Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). Could Atripla alleviate my dermatitis? Is there no way of knowing since everybody's body chemistry is different?


UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Is My Viral Load Too High for Me to Restart Meds?
I've been HIV positive for 15 years. I was on medication for the first five years, but my doctor took me off meds because of my remarkable progress. My viral load remained undetectable until recently when it suddenly went up to 105,000 and my CD4 count dropped to 66. I am going back on meds, but is it too late to see any benefit?


send a postcard from the edge

Postcards From the Edge Put your artistic urges to the test! Here's your chance to create a postcard-sized piece of art for inclusion in Visual AIDS' upcoming Postcards From the Edge exhibition and benefit sale. Proceeds from the sale of your work will help support Visual AIDS' vital assistance programs for HIV-positive artists and their estates.

The deadline for submissions is Dec. 10, so get cracking! Read the full submission guidelines or learn more about the Postcards From the Edge benefit.


HIV TESTING & TRANSMISSION


 Can a Person Live With HIV for Many Years Without Testing Positive?
I read some articles recently that made me wonder: Can HIV lie dormant inside a person's body, and all the while that person tests HIV negative but then many years later tests positive when the virus becomes active again?


 Is It Safe for Me to Have an HIV-Positive Person Clean My House?
My domestic house worker just found out she has HIV. Should I be worried about transmission from her cleaning the house?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Does Spunk on the Stall Mean HIV for All?
Can you give HIV to yourself and your family members if you masturbate in the shower?






Activist Central

 Let 2011 Be a Year of Action! Ask Family and Friends How They'll Join the Fight


 Act Now: No Airtime for Killer AIDS Denialist


 Demand That the CDC Reach Out to Transgender Youth


 Call on Peruvian Authorities for Justice in Murder of HIV/AIDS & Gay Activist