April 5, 2011
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LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS


 Should I Change My HIV Status on a Hook-Up Web Site Profile?
My profile on a hook-up Web site states that I'm HIV positive, and it rarely gets any "hits." I met up with a nice guy last year but we're not having sex. I'm thinking about creating a new profile stating that I'm HIV negative. I wouldn't have unprotected sex; but I've been out of circulation for a while due to medical issues, and I need to get laid. What do you think?

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


 What Do You Think of Compounded Testosterone?
I just turned 57 and I've been using Androgel for almost two years. I don't qualify for patient assistance and I'm finding it harder to pay for this medication, so I've been thinking about compounding pharmacies. I've also read that men who don't respond to Androgel or Testim usually respond to compounded testosterone cream. Since I do respond to Androgel, will the cream be too much? What do I look for in a compounding pharmacy? Do you have any recommendations?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


MIXED-STATUS COUPLES


 How Safe Is Oral Sex With My HIV-Positive Partner?
I've been seeing this guy for a little while now. He's great and I couldn't be happier. He's HIV positive and I'm HIV negative. I've been reading the archives about magnetic couples and it's helped a lot, but one thing that I'm worried about is oral sex. We use condoms but not for oral. He never ejaculates in my mouth but sometimes there is precum. I also once brushed my teeth about 10 minutes before we did the deed and I was the receptive partner. How risky is this? Would HIV testing be warranted from this type of exposure?

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


 How Do I Stop Freaking Out Every Time My Boyfriend Gets an HIV Test?
I'm a 29-year-old HIV-positive woman in a two-year relationship with an HIV-negative guy. We were together for a few months before I discovered my HIV status; he was a great support for me after my diagnosis, and we're very happy. He takes an HIV test every three months and has become quite chilled out about it; meanwhile, I freak out every time he goes to the clinic. I can't deal with the fact that I might have infected him. Usually it leads to a massive crisis in our relationship. What should I do? Is the only solution to end the relationship in order to protect my partner?

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



BODY SHAPE CHANGES & HIV/AIDS


 Am I Doing the Right Things to Reduce My Belly?
I'm a weightlifter and I've been HIV positive for 23 years. I eat right and take vitamins and supplements. For years I've been trying hard to manage my "pot belly," with no luck. I've gotten sick of people making comments like "When is the baby due?" (If they only knew how hurtful that is.) I've switched from Norvir (ritonavir) and Reyataz (atazanavir) to Intelence (etravirine) and Isentress (raltegravir) -- my other meds are Epivir (lamivudine, 3TC) and Viread (tenofovir). Was this a good move from a visceral-fat standpoint? What else can I do to get rid of this belly?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


HIV/AIDS TREATMENT


 Are HIV Meds Really More Toxic Than Other Kinds of Meds?
There's so much talk about how toxic HIV meds may be. Are they any more toxic than other kinds of drugs, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin), antidepressants and other drugs that must be taken regularly? How likely is a person on HIV meds to experience higher-than-normal toxicity?

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


 Is Atripla a Good Choice if I'm Coinfected With HIV and Hepatitis B?
I'm living with chronic hepatitis B, and last February I was diagnosed HIV positive. My CD4 count is 761 and my viral load is 25,250. I feel fine but my doctor recommends that I start taking HIV meds soon to keep my immune system in good condition. He suggested Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) but I'm worried about how this pill will affect my liver. My doctor says that Atripla will actually help with my hepatitis B. What do you think?

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


 Will I Become Resistant If I Miss 3 Days of Doses?
My CD4 count is 384 and my viral load is undetectable. I've been taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) religiously for the past six months, but my next batch of prescription meds won't arrive for another three days. I'm terrified that I may become resistant to the meds. How likely is that to happen?

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


OTHER HEALTH ISSUES & HIV/AIDS


 What Can I Do About Erectile Dysfunction?
I'm a 39-year-old bisexual man. I've been HIV positive for 10 years and I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) as well as meds for high blood pressure, shingles, bipolar disorder and pain. I've also been an intravenous meth user for 15 years and have had little success in stopping. On top of all this, I've been experiencing erectile dysfunction, but my health insurance won't cover Viagra (sildenafil) and I can't afford it. I'm feeling desperate. What can I do?

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


 Toxoplasma Infection of the Brain: Is It Possible to Recover?
My brother is HIV positive and has a CD4 count of 50, and he's just been diagnosed with toxoplasmosis. He has several infections on his brain; one is pressing on his left frontal lobe. Is there any chance he will get better?

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


Connect With Others

Not Surprised to Test Positive: Now How Will I Live With HIV?
(A recent post from the "I Just Tested Positive" board)

I'm 34 years old -- tested positive 3/8/11. Something in me always told me I would become HIV positive at some point. I'm of a generation of gay men whose earliest images and memories of gay life are of men in hospital beds covered in purple lesions. I literally remember being 6 years old or so and seeing this on the television, and somehow knowing that I was connected in some way to those men. I think that I started to have unprotected sex (as stupid as it may sound) because I wanted to feel something intense, even if it only lasted as long as a fuck.

Though I am staying positive, productive, and integrated in my circles of friends -- I feel more and more withdrawn I need to find a support group. I need to share this pain and regret with other people who will understand. I feel myself changing. I don't want to become cold and distant and bitter. I want to continue to love life as I did before I seroconverted. I want to learn the healthy way to live now. ... I am hungry for dialogue with others who are going through this. Can anyone relate? -- Genet

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HIV TRANSMISSION


 Why Wouldn't the ER Give Me PEP?
I live in Los Angeles and went to one local emergency room this morning seeking HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), but the nurse there said that the ER wasn't equipped to give PEP except in life-threatening emergencies. I went to another ER that did give me PEP. Thank goodness I got the treatment before the 72-hour mark! Why do you think the other ER didn't want to give me this treatment? Should I sue that hospital for refusing to treat me?

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


 Can an HIV-Positive Baby Pass HIV to Its Mother Through Breastfeeding?
I'm currently breastfeeding my 10-month-old; the baby's dad is HIV positive and I'm negative. We found out he was positive when I was six weeks pregnant, and each test since my last potential exposure has been negative. I remember reading about the case of an HIV-positive baby in Africa infecting its mom. Is this common?

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






Activist Central

 Take Action: Call-In to Support HIV Funding in the U.S.!


 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!