March 22, 2011
Visit the Forums
"Hot Topics" Library
Change/Update Subscription


 Dear Nelson Vergel: What Does "Good Medical Care" Entail?
I was diagnosed with HIV just three days ago; I'm still waiting for a doctor's appointment. I've read many articles on this site (during three sleepless nights) and they all suggest that choosing the right doctor and treatment is crucial. Can you tell me what "good medical care" means to you, as a longtime HIV advocate who's also living with HIV?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum

 How Do You Respond When People Say "No One Dies of AIDS Anymore"?
I recently had an argument with a friend who stated, "People don't die from AIDS anymore." What do you say to people who believe HIV/AIDS is no longer a fatal condition?

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


 What Are the Options for an HIV-Positive Man Looking to Have a Baby?
I've been HIV positive for two years and I haven't taken HIV meds yet. My viral load is 1,200 and my CD4 count is around 470. My wife and I would like to have a child and I'm considering starting Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) to lower my virus to undetectable levels. Will Atripla affect the quality of my sperm? What's the chance that I'll infect my wife if we try to conceive? What are our options?

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


 How Can I Get My Doctor to Prescribe Nandrolone Along With Testosterone?
I've been HIV positive for at least 23 years and have had the same doctor for all this time. Over the last five years my quality of life, body fat level and non-immune blood work (cholesterol, sugar) have all been less than optimal. I slowly started making changes -- quitting smoking and drinking, changing my diet, taking supplements, finding a personal trainer and, eventually, starting testosterone replacement therapy. I've seen great improvements in all areas, but I have concerns about my doctor's ability to properly monitor the testosterone therapy -- he was hesitant to put me on it in the first place; and he refuses to consider adding nandrolone decanoate (Deca-Durabolin), without explaining why. What do you think could be going on?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum

'poetry month @ submit your work!

quillRemember last year's Poetry Month at Well, it's that time again! From now through the end of April, we'll be accepting and posting submissions of poetry about living with, or being affected by, HIV/AIDS. Anything you write is fair game. Pieces can be literal or abstract, serious or funny, short or long (but hopefully not too long), whatever you want. Select poems will be highlighted on our site throughout the month of April!

Please e-mail your poems to with the subject line "Poetry: [Title of Your Piece]." Be sure to specify what name or alias you'd like to use, as well as any details about yourself that you feel comfortable letting readers know -- your age, the city you live in, your gender, etc. Please note that if we post something you send us, it can be Googled, so be sure to think through what kind of information you want to provide.

If you'd rather send us a poem without having to use e-mail, use our feedback page. You can leave out any contact information, but please write "POETRY" at the top of the form so we can spot it easily.


 Could Periodic Regimen Changes Help Keep Side Effects at Bay?
I started taking Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) less than a month ago. My CD4 count is over 650 and my viral load is low. I'm aware of the side effects of my current regimen and am planning on switching the Truvada in favor of Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) once my viral load is undetectable. What do you think of the notion of changing regimens every six months or so, for the sole purpose of lessening potential side effects? Are there any advantages or disadvantages to this plan?

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

 Did I Start Meds Too Soon?
I developed acute retroviral syndrome and became very ill for two weeks; I couldn't work and had to go to the emergency room three times. My viral load was greater than 10 million, while my CD4 count was 330, so my doctor started me on meds. Ten weeks after starting, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 500. Still, did I start treatment too soon?

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

 What Should I Know About Bone Density When Taking Atripla?
What effect does the Viread (tenofovir) component of Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) have on bone density, and how long does it take to notice? What can be done to monitor or improve bone density?

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

More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Side Effects:


 Do We Need to Worry About Macrocytosis?
My husband wasn't anemic when he got his first HIV lab test results. We went for our second test after four months and his CD4 count has gone up from 78 to 180. However, now the results show he has macrocytosis, which I believe has something to do with anemia. Is this serious? Is it related to him taking HIV meds?

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

 Do My Behaviors Suggest Sex Addiction?
I've had a long and varied sexual history. I discovered the world of cruising in public restrooms, parks and gay saunas when I was 16, and became HIV positive when I was 21. Thinking about and having anonymous sex never ended, even now that I have a loving partner. I masturbate or search for sex online even during work hours. I've never been faithful. It's time and money consuming and it threatens my professional life, my relationship and my health. Most of the time I can fake a mask of "it's just that I really enjoy sex"; but the fact is I'm governed by sex, and I feel stuck. What can I do?

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

Connect With Others

I've Got a Crush and It Hurts So Good: How Can I Put Myself Out There?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I'm in my mid 30s, single and have no friends. There is this library that I go to, and I have had my eyes on this guy who works there as a library assistant. I have secretly admired him since he started working there years ago. He seems very sweet, and all I can do is think about him. All I can think about is: What are the negative things that can happen if I tell him? I am older than him, HIV positive and he is probably not even gay. I have not been in love for a very long time and have been celibate for many years. But here comes this beautiful stranger and I am all vulnerable again; I love this feeling but I also don't like putting myself in this situation. Has anyone else ever had a crush like this, or had trouble getting out there and dating? I'd appreciate any advice you have to give! -- joejoe5673

Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

To do this, you'll need to register with's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an e-mail address) -- click here to get started!


 My 2-Year-Old Son Bit Me: Is He at Risk for HIV?
I'm an HIV-positive man with an undetectable viral load. I was playing with my 2-year-old and he bit my finger. I didn't notice blood right away but he did break the skin -- a bit of blood appeared when I pulled back the bit of skin and put pressure on the wound with a tissue. Should my son be tested for HIV?

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


 Airing (or Rubbing) the Family's Dirty Laundry: Will I Get HIV?
I've been using my aunt's used panties for masturbation for almost a year -- I smell, lick and rub my penis on those panties. My aunt's not HIV positive, so will I get HIV by doing this?

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

Activist Central

 Sign on, Sign Up, Speak Out: Save Prevention Access

 House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood: Sign a Letter to Congress to Save Critical Services!