January 25, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Unprotected Sex Between Two Poz Partners: How Likely Is Superinfection?
I was diagnosed HIV positive in August 2009. My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count has gone from 40 to 467 since I started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) more than a year ago. A few days ago I had unprotected sex with a guy and ejaculated inside him. I told him I was HIV positive and he told me he was too. How easily could I have been reinfected (or "superinfected") with a new strain of HIV from topping him? What should we do?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum


 How Can I Cut Back on Smoking Pot?
I've smoked marijuana daily for years. I use it to help my appetite and it literally saved my life in the past when I was very sick and couldn't eat. I now use it to cope with anxiety, and it helps me sleep. I suppose I'm addicted, but I'm not sure that's really a problem for me. I am concerned, though, about what it's doing to my lungs. What do you think? Can you advise me on how to cut back if necessary?

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds in the "Substance Use and HIV" forum


EXERCISE, NUTRITION & HIV/AIDS


 Why Does It Take So Long for Me to Recover From Weight Training?
It takes me almost four days to recover after exercising with weights. My T-cell counts average about 450 and I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). What could be the explanation for this? I hope it's not that I'm old -- I'm only 57.

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Which Whey Protein Drink Should I Use?
I've been taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for the past eight months. My viral load has dropped from over a million to undetectable, but my CD4 count is still only 100. I read recently that whey protein could help increase a person's CD4 count. Is this true? I use Immunocal now, but are there better brands of whey protein I should be looking out for?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 What Do My Partner and I Need to Know to Keep Our Active Sex Life Safer?
I've been HIV positive for three years; my current CD4 count is 825 and my viral load is undetectable. My partner is an HIV-negative female, and we're very active with sex. We engage in oral sex, and during foreplay my penis might enter her vagina without a condom for a bit. We've tried, but we're not able to avoid this kind of foreplay. Should my girlfriend take prophylaxis treatment? If so, when and under what circumstances should she take these treatments?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Should I Start Exercising Before I Start HIV Meds?
I'm about to start taking HIV meds for the first time since becoming HIV positive back in 2003. My CD4 count is 454 and my viral load is 1,256. I have my first supply of Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) already, but I haven't started taking it yet because I'm concerned about side effects. I've already gained about 10 pounds recently and I don't want to put on more weight. If I start an exercise routine before starting Atripla, do you think that would help me cut down on body-shape side effects?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Which Facial Fillers Will Give Me the Most "Bang for My Buck"?
I'm seriously considering facial filler treatments, but some of the available ones might not work for very long, and many others are way outside my budget. What are my options, especially if I want to get the most for my money -- and not waste funds on treatments that won't work?

Gerald Pierone, M.D., responds in the "Facial Wasting" forum


Connect With Others

My New Partner's HIV Positive: How Do I Get Him to Give Me Support?
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

My new partner is HIV positive with a non-detectable viral load, and I'm negative. Condom broke and I came inside him without realizing it had broken. Currently on a 30-day course of Truvada. ... I don't appear to be getting support from my partner about taking the medication as he sees it as unnecessary because he has an undetectable viral load, and in fact hung up on me over it. I'm getting the "you don't trust me" shit, and "you can't get it from me." It's hard enough loving him and getting through his barriers ... without the issue of me now taking medication.

Sorry -- just needed to vent as I need support too now. Has anyone else been through this? How can negative folks ask for the support they need from poz partners? -- new2serodisco

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HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 24 Years Without Needing HIV Meds: Should I Start Taking Them Now?
I'm 46 years old, I've been HIV positive since 1987 and I've never had to take HIV meds. My CD4 count has been between 490 and 520 for the past 10 or so years, and my viral load is 2,200. My doctor of the past three years has been encouraging me to start taking meds. What are some of the pros and cons to starting treatment now?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Fatigue and Anemia" forum


 Should I Take an Additional HIV Med to Lower My Viral Load?
I'm a 44-year-old man who began treatment with a CD4 count of 199 nearly four years ago. My last labs show that my CD4 count is at an all-time high of 560. My viral load stayed undetectable from my first month on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) until five months ago. It's been climbing since then and although the numbers are still low, the consistency suggests it's not just a blip. Would you advise adding another drug like Isentress (raltegravir) to my regimen to get the viral load below 50? Is there an option I'm not considering?

Mark Holodniy, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.I.C., responds in the "Understanding Your Labs" forum


 How Do I Keep From Confusing My Pills?
Why on Earth are Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and Isentress (raltegravir) pills the same color? I was prescribed both drugs and though they're different sizes and shapes, the color is exactly the same: peach. After 20 months taking them both, I finally took one when I meant to take the other. I'm a careful person, so I imagine this must happen to others as well. How can I keep from making this mistake again?

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds in the "Choosing Your Meds" forum


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Tightness in My Chest: Is It Pneumonia or Anxiety?
I was diagnosed with asthma in 1989 and HIV in 2002, and I had pneumonia in 2009. This year I had pain and tightness in my chest; my doctor said it was the initial stages of another bout of pneumonia and put me on antibiotics. She also prescribed Urbanol (clobazam) for anxiety. It has been three days and my antibiotics are almost finished but the tightness is still there. What could be causing this, and what can I do?

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds in the "Mental Health and HIV" forum


 What Can I Do About Recurrent Fungal Infections?
I'm not on HIV meds and very prone to fungal infections. Lately I've been getting ringworms on my face and thighs. I'm also addicted to sugary foods, which don't help the situation. What can I do about these infections?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum


HIV TRANSMISSION


 Does PEP Have Any Long-Term Side Effects?
I've been taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) for three days now. I feel weak and thirsty and have no appetite. Will I feel normal again once I've finished taking PEP, or will I feel these effects forever?

Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the "Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment" forum


 Could My Lover Have Gotten HIV From a Used Blade?
My lover is a self-cutter, and he told me he got HIV from sharing a blade with another self-mutilator. Is this possible?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum


STRANGE BUT TRUE


 Hippie Smackdown Outside the Natural Food Store: Any Risk of HIV?
I was standing on the street outside Whole Foods when a stranger approached me demanding money and cigarettes. I simply ignored him whereupon he savagely sucker-punched me with his open hand in my lower-left lip. When I arrived home I noticed a slight scabby abrasion to said lower lip. The next day I went to the emergency room, but the doc there said he didn't recommend PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) in my case. What do you think?

Robert J. Frascino, M.D., responds in the "Safe Sex and HIV Prevention" forum






Activist Central

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 Transgender Health: Submit an Abstract by Jan. 31 for National Summit in April


 Urge Your Elected Officials to Defend the Affordable Care Act


 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