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October 5, 2004
In This Hot Topics:
  • Mixed-Status Relationships
  • Work, Insurance & Immigration Issues
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Problems
  • Hepatitis
  • Safe Sex & HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True
  •   MIXED-STATUS RELATIONSHIPS

    Afraid of Dating an HIV-Negative Person
    My boyfriend broke up with me after I tested positive in June, but now that his own HIV tests have come back negative, he wants us to get back together. I was nuts about him before we broke up, but now I'm scared to death about getting involved with someone negative. Most of my fear lies with concern for infecting him, but it also has to do with a negative person never really understanding what goes on in the mind of a positive person. How do I work through this?


    My Husband Has HIV, and I'm Scared for Our Daughter
    Last week, my husband tested positive, and confessed that he had cheated on me. I'm negative, and so is our 3-year-old daughter. I'm devastated and angry -- and I'm terrified that my daughter will somehow get infected, too. What should I do? How can I possibly stay with this man when I'm so furious and frightened?
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      WORK, INSURANCE & IMMIGRATION ISSUES

    Choosing Meds: The Impact of Side Effects on Work
    I'm worried about the impact that taking HIV meds might have on my 11- to 13-hour workday. Should I start talking with my doctor about potential side effects now -- before I even start treatment?


    Mortgage Disability Insurance for HIVers?
    I'm thinking of buying a new house, and was just diagnosed with HIV. Can I sign up for disability insurance that will cover my mortgage if I get sick, without disclosing my HIV status?


    HIV and U.S. Citizenship
    I'm an HIV-positive green card holder. Can I apply for U.S. citizenship?


    An HIV-Positive Paramedic?
    I would like to become a paramedic, but I'm HIV positive. Do I have a chance?

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     HIV TREATMENT

    Should My First Regimen Contain Atazanavir?
    My doc has recommended atazanavir (Reyataz) as one of the meds in my first HAART regimen. Do you feel there's enough study data to support the use of atazanavir in first-line therapy? Would I be better off using a "tried and true" medication like Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) or efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) instead?


    Did I Start HAART Too Early?
    I started treatment with a fairly high CD4 count (640), but my viral load was 500,000. My doctor left the decision to start up to me, and I decided that, as a 44-year-old man, I'd rather not risk losing CD4 cells that I might have a hard time getting back. My first lab results haven't come back yet, but I'm wondering what you think: Was I right to go ahead and start treatment with such a high CD4 count?


    "Undetectable" on HAART: Is This a Miracle?
    Can a person's viral load really go from 155,000 to undetectable just two months after starting treatment?
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     HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS

    Neupogen = Procrit?
    My doc says that filgrastim (Neupogen) and epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit) are the same thing; is he correct? All of my counts are low, so he's prescribing me Neupogen, and says it's no different from Procrit.


    Can HAART Worsen Varicose Veins?
    I'm a 28-year-old man who's been on successful HAART for two years with virtually no side effects. Even before I started HAART, I had varicose veins in my lower legs. Now, every time I look at them, they seem to be more pronounced. Varicose veins run in my family, but could my HAART meds be speeding up their appearance?

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     HEPATITIS

    How Could I Have Hepatitis C?
    I just tested positive for hepatitis C, but I don't have any of the normal risk factors -- I don't do drugs, use protection during sex, haven't been with many women, etc. I was recently working in floodwaters, though, and got a lot of cuts from floating debris. Could I have gotten it that way? Could the test results be a mistake?


    Hepatitis C Treatment for Children
    If a child is infected with hepatitis C at birth, when should he or she start hepatitis C treatment?


    Why Doesn't Hepatitis B Go Away Naturally?
    If hepatitis B lives in a person's liver cells, and the body's immune system seeks out and kills those infected liver cells (along with the hepatitis B inside them), why can't people with HIV just cure themselves of hepatitis B naturally by killing it all off?
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     SAFE SEX & HIV TRANSMISSION

    For Anal Sex, Is Top or Bottom Safer?
    I'm in a committed gay relationship; my partner is positive and I'm negative. We always use condoms during anal sex, but in terms of HIV risk, would it be safer for me to be the top or bottom?


    How Can I Be Sure I Don't Have HIV?
    I had unprotected sex (insertive) with my boyfriend twice in one evening, and then his HIV test came back positive. My HIV test at six months came back negative, but it's now more than a year later, and I'm feeling a whole bunch of symptoms -- swollen lymph nodes and tonsils, headaches, etc. Are you sure it's not HIV?


    HIV and the Urethra
    Is it possible for a man's urethra to "absorb" HIV?
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      STRANGE BUT TRUE

    Cleaning Anal Sex Toys -- and Cleaning Them, and Cleaning Them ...
    I recently bought some anal sex toys, and got a little freaked out that they'd been used before, even though I have no proof to suggest it. I washed each of the toys four times (twice with antibacterial soap, twice with Irish Spring) and then waited 30 hours before using them. Do you think that was enough, or am I still at risk?


    The "Upside-Down" Condom
    If I use a condom "upside-down" during sex with a woman, could I be at risk for HIV?
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    NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR AN
    HIV LEADERSHIP AWARD!

    The Body's HIV Leadership Awards

    Ask Dr. Keith Henry About:
    HAART SIDE EFFECTS

    Dr. Keith Henry

    Got questions about neuropathy, nausea or any of the other side effects associated with HIV meds? Dr. Keith Henry, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and director of HIV clinical research at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, is available to answer any questions you may have in our "Ask the Experts" forum on managing the side effects of HIV treatment.

    ART FROM HIV-POSITIVE ARTISTS
    Image from the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Untitled, 1982; Keith Haring
    Visit the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.