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April 26, 2004
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Issues
  • Mental Health
  • Questions About HIV Treatment
  • Safe Sex & HIV Transmission
  • HIV/Hepatitis Transmission & Children
  • Strange but True
  •   HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

    Donated Fat and Facial Wasting
    Can my boyfriend donate his extra fat so a surgeon could graft it onto my face? I'm HIV positive, my boyfriend is negative and I have significant facial wasting.


    Avoiding Long-Term Side Effects
    After almost a year on HIV meds, I'm doing great, I've had no side effects and my viral load is undetectable. I'm worried about eventually developing lipodystrophy and other side effects, though. Is there any chance I can avoid them?


    Alternative Treatment for Gastrointestinal Side Effects
    After experimenting with a wide range of treatments for the gastrointestinal problems associated with many protease inhibitors, my doctor suggested I take glutamine, an amino acid that you can find at any health food store. My digestive system may not be perfect now, but it's closer than it's been since I started treatment.


    Options for Easing Diarrhea
    What's the best way to treat diarrhea? I want to minimize its impact on my life -- right now, for example, I don't dare to go places where I am not sure there is a toilet. All my internist suggests is loperamide (brand-name variations include Immodium AD, Kaopectate and Maalox), which I think is useless. Could you give me some advice?


    Vanishing Libido
    I am 23 years old and was diagnosed a little over a year ago. Since recently starting new HIV meds, I have noticed that I'm tired all the time and have much less desire for sex or even masturbation. Might this be due to the meds? Is there anything I can do?
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      MENTAL HEALTH

    HAART/Antidepressant Interactions
    Since I started taking HAART, my 50 mg/day dose of the antidepressant Zoloft has not worked very well. I'm taking abacavir (Ziagen), ddI (didanosine, Videx) and nevirapine (Viramune). Do any of these meds affect how Zoloft works? Are there ways to reduce their effects?


    Is It the HIV? Or Is It Stress?
    I felt great before I tested positive, but since my diagnosis I seem to have developed a lot of symptoms, including headaches and sharp pains in my hands and elbow joints. Some people have told me this could be due to stress; my body is very tense and I have a hard time relaxing. What do you think?
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      QUESTIONS ABOUT HIV TREATMENT

    Desperately Seeking Undetectable
    I was diagnosed last November with what my doc says is "a particularly virulent strain" of HIV. My immune system, he says, took an "unusually hard hit" during the first six months of infection. HAART, which I started in January, has reduced my viral load from 255,000 to about 1,000, but I'm anxious to reach undetectable (which he tells me won't be for a few more months) and I'm concerned that my CD4 count isn't bouncing back robustly enough. What do you think?


    Resistant to Change: What Are the Risks?
    My HIV has some resistance to my current regimen, and for the past four years my CD4 count has hovered steadily between 223 and 315, while my viral load has been around 3,800. My doctor has wanted to change my meds for two years, but my health has always been excellent, so I've been reluctant. What are the risks of continuing with my current regimen?


    How to Go on a Drug Holiday
    I'm not asking for advice on the merits of structured HIV treatment interruptions, but rather on how to actually stop my current regimen. If I took a drug holiday, would I simply stop taking all the meds at the same time?

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      SAFE SEX & HIV TRANSMISSION

    Does Low Viral Load Mean No Transmission Risk?
    Since my husband was diagnosed with HIV, we've been using condoms during sex. Lately, though, he's been pressuring me to stop using condoms so that we can have children. He says he can't give me HIV because his viral load is low. Is he right? Should we have unprotected sex?


    We're Both HIV Negative; Is Barebacking OK?
    I really want to have sex with this cute guy, but he wants to bareback. Since neither of us has HIV, is it safe to do it?


    HIV Subtype E: A Different Beast?
    I am a 30-year-old guy from Germany who has never had a real girlfriend. I was so frustrated about it that I decided to take a vacation in Thailand with a friend last December. I met a young lady in a disco. I protected myself, but the condom broke. Since she was having her period, I got menstrual blood on my penis. I now have HIV subtype E. Do you have any experience with this subtype? I've heard it's the toughest of all the HIV strains and is hard to treat. Is this true?
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      HIV/HEPATITIS TRANSMISSION & CHILDREN

    Pregnancy and HIV
    My partner and I are both HIV positive and we want to have a child. Our CD4 counts are around 800 and our viral loads are around 7,000. Will our baby become infected because both of us are positive?


    If We Have Hepatitis C, Can Our Kids Get It?
    My husband has been diagnosed with hepatitis C; my test results aren't back yet. If we both carry the virus, what risk do we pose to our children?
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      STRANGE BUT TRUE

    An Unusual Sexual Encounter
    I had sex with a transvestite. I let him/her penetrate my penis with his/her anus. It hurt like heaven and it burned like hell. Now, three hours later, I feel very ashamed and I even think he/she may have given me HIV. Does this mean I'm gay, or am I just confused about many things?
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    ASK DR. MOYLE ABOUT
    LIPODYSTROPHY & WASTING
    Dr. Graeme Moyle

    Dr. Graeme Moyle, the Associate Director of HIV Research and Associate Specialist in HIV/GU Medicine at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, is available to answer any questions you may have about lipodystrophy, wasting and other metabolic complications of HIV and HAART.

    ART FROM HIV-POSITIVE ARTISTS
    Image from the July 2003 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "The Ten Commandments," 1985;
    Keith Haring
    Visit Visual AIDS at The Body to view this month's Web Gallery, or to browse through Web Galleries from the past five years!