January 11, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Should I Ask My Health Care Provider's Sexual Orientation?
I'm HIV positive and I've recently begun to see a neuropsychologist as I'm having issues with depression and fatigue. My frustration and anxiety are related to the fact that I'm a bisexual married man living in a very rural community, unable to tell anyone I'm positive, so it's important to have a provider who understands these issues. Is it appropriate to ask his sexual orientation?


 Living With HIV Has Become a Full-Time Job: How Can I Keep Going This Way?
I feel as if HIV controls my life, and receiving disability checks every month reiterates the fact that I'm in trouble. My wife tries, but she doesn't understand. I see everything I worked 28 years for evaporating in front of my eyes, and I feel useless. I've become compulsive and find myself sweeping my house every day, obsessing about keeping it in order. Medications have broken down my teeth, and salivary gland disease has made my daily job drinking water. It's not fair and I just want it all to stop. What can I do?


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Can Meds Help Me Have Unprotected Anal Sex With My Poz Partner?
I'm an HIV-negative top in a relationship with an HIV-positive bottom. Are there any current studies looking into the possibility that HIV meds could help HIV-negative people in mixed-status relationships have unprotected anal sex with our partners and stay HIV negative?


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 What's the Extent of Medicare's Coverage of Sculptra and Radiesse?
Is Medicare now covering facial fillers for HIVers all over the U.S., or just in certain areas? Is there an existing list of doctors who participate in Medicare coverage for these treatments? What aspects of the treatment process does Medicare cover, and how much does a person have to pay for out of pocket?


 Now That Egrifta Is Approved, How Can I Get Hold of Some?
Is the fat-accumulation treatment Egrifta (tesamorelin) now available in drug stores? Can I get a prescription from my doctor and walk into any store to get it filled? How will I pay for this drug?


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS


 Does Everyone Get Side Effects From HIV Meds?
I'm almost 58 years old and I became HIV positive on Oct. 5, 2010. I'm now 10 days into taking Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). My CD4 count is 723, my viral load is 43,000 and I've had no side effects whatsoever. Is this uncommon? How long does it typically take for side effects to occur?


 Depression and Anxiety After 2 Years on Atripla: Do I Need to Switch Meds?
I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for about two years; I have an undetectable viral load and my CD4 count hovers around 600. I have a history of anxiety issues, but since I started this medication it seems like my depression, irritability, moodiness and lack of motivation have gotten progressively worse. I hadn't had a panic attack in many years, but I've had two attacks just in the last 48 hours. Is switching meds my only option?


 Starting HIV Meds: What Effect Will Crystal Meth Have on My Health?
I'm getting ready to begin a regimen of Emtriva (emtricitabine, FTC), Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Viread (tenofovir). My CD4 count is 246 and my viral load is 5,000. What effect would crystal meth have on these drugs, and on my immune system?


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Side Effects:


introducing two new "ask the experts" forums

Got questions about mental health or substance use? Ask our newest expert, David Fawcett, Ph.D., in one of our two brand-new forums!

A clinical social worker, sex therapist and accomplished researcher, Dr. Fawcett has worked in the HIV/AIDS field ever since his own HIV-positive diagnosis in 1988. Visit the "Mental Health and HIV" and "Substance Use and HIV" forums; you can also read more about Dr. Fawcett's work.



OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Can I Up My Dose of Erectile Dysfunction Drugs?
I'm currently on Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Viramune (nevirapine) and I've been having problems getting an erection. My doctor prescribed 10 mg of Cialis (tadalafil) but that dosage doesn't have an effect; if I take 20 mg the drug works well. Can I take the larger dose or should I try other meds for this condition? Is there any interaction between HIV meds and drugs for erectile issues?


 What Are My Treatment Options for Psoriasis?
I've been HIV positive since early 2002, and doing well on HIV meds since late that same year. Since then my CD4 count has stayed above 700 and my viral load has been undetectable. Betamethasone cream and regular moisturizing have kept my plaque psoriasis under control for years, but in the past two or three years it's been flaring back up again. What are my treatment options as an HIV-positive person with a strong immune system when many of the treatments for psoriasis affect the immune system?


UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 Should I Start Treatment Even Though My Viral Load and CD4 Count Are OK?
I'm a 48-year-old man and I've been HIV positive for 17 years. I've never been on HIV meds. My CD4 count is 662, my CD4 percentage is 28.8 and my viral load ranges from 46,000 to 49,000. My blood sugar level has gone up recently, and I have some skin problems as well. Do these have anything to do with my HIV? Would starting HIV meds help either of these conditions?


HIV TRANSMISSION


 How Risky Are My "Hook-Up" Practices?
All of my sexual partners are random men I meet on the Internet. I've probably had 15 to 20 partners since my last HIV-negative test result more than 10 months ago. I always quiz my partner on HIV status -- though of course I can't be 100 percent sure they're telling the truth. Most of these encounters only involve oral sex, and I never swallow. In the rare cases in which we have anal sex, I always use a condom. In my case, is having multiple random Internet partners really all that risky?


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Pounding My Pillow: Can Bedding Give Me HIV?
I made a sex toy by cutting a hole in a pillow and, well, having sex with it. When I masturbate with my toy, sometimes my semen gets in the pillow. Will this practice eventually lead to HIV infection?






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