December 14, 2010
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 What's New in Vitamin D Research?
I've seen so much news coverage recently about how lots of people in the population have vitamin D deficiency, not just HIVers; and it's believed that just about every cell in the body uses vitamin D. What do you know about vitamin D supplements? Is just taking vitamin D enough or do you need sunlight exposure to activate it, as one doctor has told me?


 Now That the "Berlin Patient" Has Been Cured ... What About the Rest of Us?
Has there been an update on the guy with HIV and leukemia known as the "Berlin patient," who was cured of HIV by a complicated procedure? Can this cure help some of us? What else is happening in the search for a cure?


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 My Recently Diagnosed Partner Won't Go to the Doctor: What Can I Do for Him?
I found out a few weeks ago that my partner tested HIV positive last year and has not been to the doctor since. He says he's not a "pill person." He even cared for his brother, who never took HIV meds either and died a terrible death from AIDS complications a few years ago. If he doesn't take care of himself and seek medical attention, is he the right person for me?


 What Can the Future Hold for Me and My HIV-Positive Boyfriend?
My boyfriend and I have been together about a year and he became HIV positive about two months ago. I love him and I've chosen to stay with him. We've used condoms when we have sex but HIV is affecting our love life because I'm concerned for my own health (I don't have HIV). I also want to have kids in the next few years. Will we be able to do that safely?


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 How Can I Lose My Belly While Controlling Weight Gain in My Breasts and Buttocks?
I noticed a few years ago, when I was on HIV meds, I gained a lot of weight in my breasts, stomach and buttocks. I went off my meds for two years due to medical insurance issues but now that I'm back on them faithfully I'm seeing increases in these same areas. My appetite has also increased drastically. Even though some of these areas look good for a woman of color, it can get very annoying when you have to buy clothes and undergarments. What can I do to at least get rid of this belly and keep the other assets in shape?


 Is the Lap-Band Procedure an Option for HIVers?
Can a person living with HIV and on HIV meds get the Lap-Band weight-loss procedure with no problem? Will their meds still be absorbed well in their stomach after the surgery?


strangest but truest of 2010: you make the call

You have just one more week to cast your vote for the most bizarre HIV-related question asked in our "Ask the Experts" forums this year! From twisted sisters to semen-laced breakfast treats, you'll be amazed at just how far-out some folks can get in their paranoia over a possible HIV exposure.


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Can I Transmit Resistance to My Partner if We're on Different HIV Meds?
My partner and I are both HIV positive. His viral load is undetectable; mine is 20,000 or so. I used to take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), same as he does, but I recently changed to Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Is there a risk of exposing him to resistance to Isentress if we have unprotected sex?


 Sudden Shift in Numbers: Symptom of Bronchitis, or Time to Start Treatment?
I was diagnosed a year and a half ago. Until recently my CD4 count stayed in the 500s to high 600s and my viral load was always between 10,000 and 25,000. A month ago my CD4 count went down to 421 and my viral load was 172,000. I had a rough bout of bronchitis about two months ago and I think that might be the cause of the change, but my doctor told me to start treatment. What do you think?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 HIV and a History of Anal Warts: Should I Worry About Anal Cancer?
I was infected with HIV less than five months ago. All my initial numbers are perfectly normal, with CD4 numbers at 437 and 26 percent, and a viral load of 927 copies. I was treated for anal warts two years ago. Should I be concerned about the long-term potential for anal cancer? Should I be screened again and more regularly?


 Is Heartburn a Sign That Meds Are Damaging My Pancreas?
I take Isentress (raltegravir), Videx (didanosine, ddI) and Viread (tenofovir). I occasionally get very severe heartburn even though I try to avoid the "trigger" foods. I know Videx is very hard on the pancreas. Is the heartburn a warning sign that my pancreas may be damaged?


 Will My Peripheral Neuropathy Ever Go Away?
I have had HIV since 1984, an AIDS diagnosis since 1998 and peripheral neuropathy since 1986. My viral load is near undetectable. My pain is still bad and I am on meds for it. Two different doctors feel that since I am nearly undetectable I should be having no pain by now. Tell that to my fingers and feet! What do you think I should do?


Connect With Others

My Boyfriend Is Threatening to Disclose My Status if I Leave Him
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I have not disclosed to any member of my family because they are probably the most judgmental people I know. My mom would just blame me until the day she dies. Now I have a problem with my boyfriend because I don't want to be in the relationship anymore, but he's threatening to tell my mom about my status if I leave him. Telling her is not an option. She will not understand no matter what. Just to give you an idea of how judgmental she is: She thinks the reason my son has special needs is because I deserve it for having a child before getting married. What should I do? -- virginmary

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HIV & HEPATITIS TRANSMISSION


 Does PrEP Beat Condoms for HIV Prevention?
I really think condoms are inadequate. They occasionally slip and break, plus they steal the feeling of total intimacy during sex, so many people don't use them. Don't an increasing number of doctors believe that PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) combined with the infected person's having an undetectable viral load would provide the same protection as effective condom use? What's your point of view on this? Do you still consider condoms the best way to halt new HIV infections?


 Are Cigarettes on the List of Items People With Hepatitis B or C Shouldn't Share?
I just found out that my friend has hepatitis C. We shared a cigarette the day before she told me. I know some kinds of hepatitis can be spread by sharing certain types of personal items like toothbrushes, but is it possible to contract hepatitis B or C from sharing a cigarette?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 HIV and Fleas: A Real Nail-Biter
I have a nasty habit of biting my nails. The other day I killed a flea on a dog that belongs to my neighbor, who has an AIDS diagnosis. I soon realized I was gnawing on the nail with which I had killed the flea! Is there a possibility of HIV transmission in this case? Please answer me, I'm so scared!






Activist Central

 Dec. 16: Join a Call and Discussion of HIV Criminalization in the U.S.


 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