April 19, 2011
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 Encounter With an Insensitive Provider: Am I Overreacting?
I recently visited a gastroenterologist for suspected irritable bowel syndrome. Immediately upon discovering I was HIV positive, this gastroenterologist asked, "Are you a homosexual?" No expression of empathy or sign that he was merely trying to gauge my risk factors. He also asked me what I wanted to do before noting any options or performing any sort of physical examination. I now feel far less welcome in the place of healing I once felt proud to call my hospital. Am I blowing this out of proportion? Where might I turn for help?

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

 Drug Testing at Work: Can Atripla Cause a False Positive for Marijuana?
I found out that I have to take a hair drug test at work, and I've heard that Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) can cause a false positive test result for marijuana. I don't smoke marijuana or take any drugs other than Atripla, and I don't want to have to tell my employer that I take Atripla because I have HIV. What can I do?

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


 How Do I Tell My Man I'm Leaving Because of His Cheating, Not His HIV Status?
Two years ago my boyfriend found out he was HIV positive and openly told me about his status. We've always had protected sex since then. His status has never really bothered me; I love him with or without HIV. However, he's constantly cheating, and when I gather the guts to ask him about it, I never get real answers or apologies. For the first time, I really feel like walking out of this. How do I leave him without making him think it's about him being HIV positive?

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


 Large Gut and Skinny Legs: Could Nandrolone Help?
I've had an AIDS diagnosis since 1990 (HIV positive since 1985), I'm 5 feet 9 inches tall and weigh 185 pounds, and my CD4 count has roamed between 180 and 280 for years. I work out quite a bit but my legs, ankles and buttocks are as skinny as if I had wasting syndrome, with barely any muscle. My upper body is very muscular and lean, except for my large gut. These effects have bothered me for years. Do you think nandrolone could help in my case? What else can I do?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum

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

quillHe said his test had come out OK,
it's hard to believe people lie,
even today.

--From "Be Safe, Not Sorry," by Justin

To mark National Poetry Month in the U.S., we're posting our readers' poetry submissions 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 featured on our site and in e-mail newsletters all this month. Click here for more detailed information on how you can submit your poem (anonymously, if you'd like).


 With This Mutation, Why Did My Doctor Prescribe Atripla?
I was diagnosed HIV positive and I take Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). After six months on meds, my viral load went from 35,000 to 48 and my CD4 count rose from 300 to 340. However, I'm worried Atripla won't work well in the long term because I have the A98G mutation. Won't this mutation affect my response to NNRTIs (non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors), the class of drugs to which the Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) in Atripla belongs?

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

 Will My Adherence Issues Affect My Next Pregnancy?
I'm a 38-year-old woman with an infant. I found out I was HIV positive when I went for my prenatal blood work. Thankfully, my daughter is HIV free. I'd been taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Viramune (nevirapine) twice a day since then, but I was really bad about taking the drugs regularly. My doctor switched Combivir for Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), so now I take everything once a day and have yet to miss a dose. What are your thoughts on the Truvada/Viramune combination if I want to have another baby? If my viral load remains undetectable, can I go off the drugs after I have my next baby?

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

 Why Is Everything Making Me Cry?
I was recently given an AIDS diagnosis. I'm now taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) and have been on it for about six to eight weeks; but I've become very emotional, crying at everything. Is this normal? What is going on with me?

Nelson Vergel responds in the "Nutrition and Exercise" forum


 Could HIV Already Have Caused Cognitive Damage?
I was diagnosed with HIV three and a half years ago, when my CD4 count was only 6 and my viral load was off the chart. In the last half-year I've experienced a decline in my memory, depression and confusion. My HIV doc doesn't believe it's HIV-related dementia because my CD4 count is pretty high now and my viral load is undetectable. Even though my HIV appears to be under control at this time, is it possible that it could have already caused some cognitive damage beforehand that's only showing up now?

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

 Boniva for Osteoporosis: Is It Safe to Take With Atripla?
I'm 64, HIV positive, and I've been doing well on Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) for four years -- my viral load is less than 20 and my CD4 count ranges from 631 to 838. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2000 and started taking Actonel (risedronate) once a week, but I threw the drug out after three months because of my difficulty swallowing the pill. Now my internist wants to start me on once-a-month Boniva (ibandronate). What's your opinion on this mix?

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


 What Is CD4 Percentage, Anyway?
How is CD4 percentage different from CD4 count? Why does CD4 count change more readily than CD4 percentage?

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

introducing 'hiv care today'!

HIV Care TodayHow does a nurse practitioner who specializes in aging apply that training to the HIV/AIDS field? How are clinicians integrating PrEP into their practices? What are the health benefits of optimism? Seasoned professionals explore these and other everyday challenges of their jobs in HIV Care Today -- a brand-new multi-author blog on TheBodyPRO.com, our Web site for providers across the spectrum of HIV care.


 What Should You Do After an Accidental Needle Stick?
What kind of blood work would be appropriate following an accidental needle stick injury on the job at a long-term health care facility?

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


 The Canine Epidemic: Is My Puppy At Risk for HIV?
My puppy bit my friend who's HIV positive (a friendly bite, no deep wound, almost like a scratch). Can my puppy get the virus? What are the risks?

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


Activist Central

 Facial Lipoatrophy Treatments for HIVers: Sign a Petition to Help Remove Barriers to Access!

 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!