February 15, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 What Do You Know About Creatine Supplements?
I've been HIV positive since 2009 and I want to start an aggressive workout program. Are creatine supplements safe to use to improve muscle strength? How does creatine dosing work, and what effects can I expect?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 What Can I Do to Help My Troubled, Recently Diagnosed Son?
My 19-year-old son told me he tested HIV positive. I asked if he needed to talk and he refused. I want to help him but I'm confused, shocked, angry that he did not protect himself, sad because his life is already so complicated. He lives with me and is in some trouble with the law, and he continues to steal from me and lie to me. What should I do?

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


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 Allergic to Latex: What Should My HIV-Positive Partner and I Do About Condoms?
I'm in a relationship with an HIV-positive man. He's been very afraid of infecting me so we've only had sex a few times. One time the condom broke and that upset him even more, although I tested negative outside of the window period. I'm allergic to latex and I've heard that non-latex condoms are more likely to break. Latex doesn't cause me to have breathing problems, just skin irritation, so I might be willing to deal with that if it meant my boyfriend wouldn't be scared to have sex with me. What do you suggest?

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


 What Happens Now That I'm Pregnant and My Husband Has Tested Positive?
I'm 24 weeks pregnant and my husband just tested HIV positive. I've tested negative so far, but how often should I be tested so we'll know for sure?

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


Also Worth Noting: Visual AIDS

Image from the February 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
"Beauty Is Homely Skin Deep," 1996; J. Robert Reed

Visit the February 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Why Religious Images Now?," is curated by José Vidal.

BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Facial Wasting at the Temples: What Are Some Good Treatment Options?
What is the best solution for wasting in the temple area? Do implants work, or are facial fillers a better option?

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


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Is It Possible for a Person's Virus to Be Resistant to Every HIV Med?
I'm 23 years old and I was recently diagnosed HIV positive. I don't know if I'll have to go on HIV meds yet, but I wondered: Is it possible for someone's virus to be resistant to all HIV meds? How likely is a person to be infected with a virus that's already multidrug resistant?

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


 Traveling Across Time Zones: How Exact Do My HIV Med Dosing Times Have to Be?
I'm newly diagnosed with HIV and I've not yet started taking HIV meds. I travel a lot for work, often spending months at a time in different countries and time zones. Do I always have to take my meds at the same time -- midnight in New York, but then 5 a.m. in London and 7 a.m. in Tel Aviv, for example? What should I do in these situations?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Did I Start HIV Treatment Too Early?
I've been HIV positive for five years; my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 1,230. I decided to start taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) at the time of seroconversion since I have a history of cancer and was afraid it would return. My viral load was 80,000 and my CD4 count was about 900 at the time. There seems to be a lot of conflicting information in the medical literature about when to start HIV treatment. Did I make the wrong decision in starting meds very early? When is the "right" time to start, anyway?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 What Could Be Causing My Oral Problems?
I was diagnosed with HIV in November 2010 and have started taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I've had perfect teeth and regular dental check-ups my entire life, but since my diagnosis I've begun to experience extreme dry mouth, gum irritation and a dull pain in my teeth. These problems have only gotten worse, and now I'm starting to get ridges on the roof of my mouth. What could be causing these issues? Should I stop taking Atripla and see if that helps?

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


 Memory Loss and Letter Confusion: Is It HIV Meds, Past Meth Use or Dyslexia?
Lately I've been confusing numbers with letters, mostly when typing or reading. The problem comes and goes but it's been bad for a while and it's causing frustrations at work. I also have trouble holding onto thoughts and remembering what I'm talking about. I take Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), Cymbalta (duloxetine) for depression and Ambien (zolpidem) to sleep. I've also been clean from methamphetamine and all other drugs and alcohol for three years. Could one of these factors be causing these cognitive issues?

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


More Questions About Other Health Issues & HIV/AIDS:


Connect With Others

How Can I Cope With My Passive-Aggressive Family?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

I was diagnosed poz three years ago ... I lost my job because of it, I think: A co-worker I told about my condition told the big boss and they made my life miserable there until they cornered me and made me resign. I lost my apartment, my money, and had to move back to my mother's. She doesn't know anything about HIV/AIDS or want to read the books I've bought for her about it ... I'm broke, depressed (extremely) and I feel totally alone in this house full of family members who act OFFENDED when I ask them to help me. I just need to talk to someone I guess. Does anyone have any advice? -- journalist36

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What Is a CD4 Cell, Anyway?
Are CD4 cells a form of white blood cell? Why does HIV single out CD4 cells for its attack?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION & TESTING


 Is It Possible to "Carry" HIV but Test Negative?
I've read some doctors' replies to this question, and all they say is: "Either you have the virus or you don't; if you have the virus you will test HIV positive." However, I recently read an article about HIV ESNs (exposed but seronegative) which seemed to suggest that people could have such low levels of viral DNA in their cells that an antibody or HIV PCR test could come back negative. Could this be true?

Joseph P. McGowan, M.D., F.A.C.P., responds in the "Choosing Your Meds" forum


 Missed 2 Doses: Should I Stop Taking PEP?
I started taking post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) 19 hours after I was exposed to HIV. I've made some mistakes with the doses: On the fourth and fifth days I missed two pills of Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) each evening; and on two occasions I was three hours late taking Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Should I discontinue PEP completely because of these slip-ups?

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






Activist Central

 Apply for the 2011 African-American HIV University Community Mobilization College


 Feb. 16: Is PrEP Prevention Justice? Join HIV PJA for Webinar on New Prevention Technology


 Register for AIDSWatch 2011 in Washington, D.C., February 16-18