March 29, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 How Can I Increase My Levels of "Good Cholesterol"?
My doctors say it's difficult for HIV-positive people to increase their levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), or "good cholesterol." What's the best way for us to increase our HDL levels?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 In the Long Run, Is There Any Hope for People Living With HIV?
I keep hearing talk about HIV being manageable, but it seems like people are still dying all the time, which terrifies me. It's hard for me to find any hope. What do you think?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 My Partner's Afraid to Be Sexual With Me: How Can We Fix Our Relationship?
I'm HIV positive and my partner isn't. We've been together for almost two years and I told him straight away that I was positive, but we still haven't had anal or oral sex with each other. We barely even masturbate together. He tells me he's scared of getting infected and that ads from the '80s and '90s have shocked him into being like this. Although I've told him I understand his concerns, and it's actually nice for someone to be careful, I feel as though this isn't totally normal. The rest of our relationship is great, but I'm worried we're working on something that's never going to be. What should we do?

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


BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Why Can't I Find a Provider Who Takes Medicare for Sculptra or Radiesse?
My medical care is covered by Medicare and TRICARE (the military health plan) and I am having the worst time finding someone to do my facial filler treatments -- even though I qualify for the patient assistance program, and there are many plastic surgeons and dermatologists in my county. A specialist two hours from my home told me I'd still have to come up with a substantial copay for my treatments, but TRICARE covers my copay. What's the reason for all this rigmarole? Isn't Medicare supposed to cover facial filler treatments for HIVers?

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


 Could Liposuction Help My Treatment-Related Belly Fat?
Would liposuction be safe for an HIV-positive person who's developed belly fat as a side effect of HIV meds?

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


'poetry month @ thebody.com: submit your work!

quillRemember last year's Poetry Month at TheBody.com? 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 content@thebody.com 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.



HIV/AIDS TREATMENT & SIDE EFFECTS


 What Can I Do About Dizziness and Hallucinations After Several Years on Atripla?
I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for a couple of years now, and I still have intense dizziness and even hallucinations if I'm not asleep within 30 minutes of taking the pill. How common is this? Should I be concerned?

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


 Started Treatment With a Low CD4 Count: Will I Do Badly?
I'm 49 years old. Six months ago when I was diagnosed with HIV, my CD4 count was only 14 and my viral load approached a million. I was fortunate to survive that time with no major opportunistic infections. I now take Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). At first I saw a radical improvement, with my CD4 count going up to 94 and my viral load dropping to around 1,000. After four months my viral load is undetectable but my CD4 count is rising very slowly. I eat right, exercise, sleep enough, work hard, enjoy life, and take several vitamin and mineral supplements. How can I expect to fare relative to someone who started treatment earlier in their HIV infection? Can I still plan for retirement?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Can't Tolerate Norvir: What Are My Other Regimen Options?
I was on Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) for about seven years when I started getting pains in my stomach and throwing up to the point where I had to go to the emergency room. I stopped taking my HIV meds and my doctor put me on Norvir (ritonavir), Prezista (darunavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Now I'm having the same problem again. Both these regimens contain ritonavir. Could that be what's making me sick? What are my other options?

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


More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment & Side Effects:


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 Can I Safely Smoke?
After being diagnosed with HIV last October, I quit smoking using the nicotine patch. I've been patch-free since January, but over the past few weeks I've experienced cravings. Do you think a person can smoke one or two cigarettes a day and maintain his health? Does cigarette smoke lower T-cell counts or interact with HIV meds?

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


 Did Paranoid Schizophrenia Cause Me to Become HIV Positive?
I've suffered from paranoid schizophrenia since I got out of the Marine Corps in 1994. I was on and off my schizophrenia meds for years; while off my meds I was delusional, hallucinating and out of control, so I engaged in compulsive risky behavior and got drunk to numb out everything. Then I found out I was HIV positive in 2002. I now take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), which works well. Do you think being a paranoid schizophrenic led to my being HIV positive?

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


Connect With Others

Could Non-Monogamy Be the Solution to My Magnetic-Relationship Problems?
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)

I'm curious about others' experiences. I've been in a relationship for 4 years with someone who is neg; we found out I was poz about 3 years ago. Everything is great but our sex life. He couldn't be sweeter and more supportive of me, but he has been seeking satisfaction elsewhere sexually which I am really bothered by. If he can barely jerk me off without getting freaked out, how can he do it with other guys when he doesn't even know if they are neg or poz -- the way I see it at least with me he knows what he is dealing with and we can be safe.

Then on the other hand I feel as if maybe I should overlook it because I'm being selfish not allowing him to have satisfying sex, even though in my opinion from reading others' experiences you can have a satisfying sex life in a neg/poz relationship if both parties are truly interested in working it out ... I have never really been signed up for the whole open relationship deal, but in this case maybe it is a solution? Anyone have any thoughts about this? -- AZguy11

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UNDERSTANDING HIV/AIDS LABS


 What's the Latest Standard in "Undetectable"?
My viral load used to be undetectable at less than 50 copies; now I'm hearing something about it being detectable at more than 20 copies. Is there a new standard for what's considered an "undetectable" HIV viral load, or is my clinic just using new testing procedures?

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


HIV TRANSMISSION


 Can 2 HIV-Positive Parents Have an HIV-Negative Baby?
My partner and I are HIV positive, both with undetectable viral loads. Can we have an HIV-negative baby? What would be the best way to get pregnant and lower or eliminate the risk of infecting each other with our HIV strains?

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






Activist Central

 Sign a Birthday Card for Health Care Reform!


 Choice in HIV Prevention -- Let FDA Look at the PrEP Data


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


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