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October 25, 2004
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV & the Flu Vaccine
  • HIV Treatment in Children
  • HIV Treatment in Adults
  • HAART Side Effects
  • Having a Baby
  • Hepatitis Treatment
  • Safe Sex & HIV Risks for MSM
  • Strange but True
  •   BE A PART OF TONIGHT'S FUZEON CHAT AT THE BODY!

    Monday, Oct. 25, 9 p.m. EST: Ask Your Questions About Fuzeon
    Got questions on Fuzeon (T-20, enfuvirtide)? Our live chat on Fuzeon is the place to ask them! Stop by tonight to be a part of this informative, hour-long talk with Louise Perry, a nurse practitioner experienced with Fuzeon, and Greg Braxton, an HIVer currently taking Fuzeon as part of his HAART regimen.

    If you'd like to learn more about Louise, Greg or the medication they'll be discussing, visit the main Fuzeon chat page. There will also be several interactive polls during the chat that we hope you'll take part in!

    This chat is sponsored by Trimeris and Roche, the makers of Fuzeon.


      HIV & THE FLU VACCINE

    Given what's shaping up to be a severe shortage of flu vaccine in the United States this winter, the question of whether to get a flu shot is on the minds of many people with HIV. The answer, unfortunately, isn't always so simple: Although HIVers with low CD4 counts or coinfections should definitely get the vaccine, HIV docs disagree over whether HIVers who are otherwise healthy should get it. In fact, as the question below shows, our own experts have different opinions on the issue.


    Given the Flu Vaccine Shortage, Should I Skip Mine This Year?
    Since the flu vaccine is so hard to come by this year, can I safely skip mine? I've been pos for six years and on Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir) for the past five. My lab results are pretty much like those of a normal person: My viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is 1,200.

    In this response, Dr. Brian Conway says it's OK to skip the vaccine.

    But in this response to the same question, Dr. Mark Holodniy begs to differ.


    Flu Shot Allergy?
    I might need to get a flu shot this year (I have a low CD4 count and high viral load), but I always get allergic reactions to them that last for days. If I get the vaccine, how can I avoid the side effects?
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      HIV TREATMENT IN CHILDREN

    Testing Children for Drug Resistance
    When should HIV-positive children get a resistance test?


    AZT Resistance From Underdosing in Children
    My 5-year-old son was recently diagnosed with HIV (his CD4 count is 384). His doctor started him on a regimen that included a lower-than-normal dose of AZT (zidovudine, Retrovir) for the first few weeks. He's now taking the normal dose, but I'm wondering: Could this underdosage have increased his chances of developing resistance to AZT?

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     HIV TREATMENT IN ADULTS

    Does My Doc Want Me on HAART Too Quickly?
    My doc has prescribed me my first HAART regimen -- Combivir (AZT/3TC), efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) -- but I haven't started taking it yet. I'm relatively healthy, have a CD4 count of 450 and a viral load of 3,748. Am I crazy for not wanting to start treatment yet?


    Are There Too Many Drugs in This Regimen?
    I'm a healthcare professional, and was surprised to see that one of my new patients was on a difficult regimen with a lot of pills. He's taking Combivir (AZT/3TC), efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin), fosamprenavir (Lexiva, Telzir), Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir), ritonavir (Norvir) and two additional drugs, leucovorin (Wellcovorin, an anemia treatment) and atovaquone (Mepron, which prevents Pneumocystis pneumonia). I don't know what this man's resistance profile is, but is such a complicated regimen normal?
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     HAART SIDE EFFECTS

    Lumps of Fat
    I've noticed fatty lumps right under the skin in my side and on my lower chest. Could these lipomas be related to my HAART regimen? I've had HIV for four years, and am on 3TC (lamivudine, Epivir), d4T (stavudine, Zerit) and efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin). My CD4 count is 550 and my viral load is undetectable.


    HAART, Cholesterol Treatment and Bloating
    Is bloating common in people on HAART who are also taking meds for high cholesterol? What can I do to lessen it?

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     HAVING A BABY

    Sperm Washing: An Option for Pos Men and Neg Women
    Many people have recently written to our "Women & HIV" forum asking about sperm washing, a procedure that attempts to "cleanse" semen of HIV so that an HIV-positive man and an HIV-negative woman can safely have a baby. In response to those questions, Dr. Sharon Lee has posted this explanation of how sperm washing works, along with a useful list of eight resources you can turn to for more information.


    If My Husband Has an Undetectable Viral Load, Is Unprotected Sex OK?
    My husband is HIV positive, but has an undetectable viral load. I'm HIV negative, and we want to have a baby. We've been looking into sperm washing as a possibility, but the doctor told us that because his viral load is so low, we could try to conceive naturally (via unprotected sex) with basically no risk of infecting me. This sounds a little off to me; what do you think?


    Basics on Pregnancy for an HIV-Positive Woman
    I'm HIV positive, but my husband is not. I'm doing well on my meds; my viral load is 50 and my CD4 count is 278. What do I need to know about trying to have a baby?
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     HEPATITIS TREATMENT

    Options When Hepatitis C Treatment Fails
    I'm a hemophiliac coinfected with HIV and hepatitis C. I've been on HAART for the past eight years, and have taken two year-long courses of treatment with peginterferon (Pegasys, PEG-Intron) and ribavirin (Copegus, Rebetol, Virazole), but they haven't treated my hepatitis C. What do I do now?


    Starting Hepatitis B Treatment
    Should I begin treatment for my chronic hepatitis B infection if I have stage 2 liver fibrosis? If I should, what sort of treatment should I get?
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     SAFE SEX & HIV RISKS FOR MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN

    What Should a Man Know Before Having Sex With Another Guy?
    I'm considering having sex with other men. But I want to know ahead of time the risks for different types of contact. Can you run me through the basics of what I should know before I become sexually active?


    HIV Risk When the Pos Man Is the Bottom
    How much risk is there for an HIV-negative guy to be the top (i.e., have insertive anal sex) with an HIV-positive guy who has an undetectable viral load and is on HAART?
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      STRANGE BUT TRUE

    Wiping a Public Toilet -- And Then Yourself -- With the Same Paper
    I used a women's public restroom recently, and when I was done, I wiped off the toilet seat (which had some blood and urine on it), and then wiped myself with the same piece of toilet paper. Given that I had a yeast infection at the time, what are the odds I just infected myself with HIV?
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    NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR AN
    HIV LEADERSHIP AWARD!

    The Body's HIV Leadership Awards

    Ask Dr. Robert Remien About:
    MIXED-STATUS RELATIONSHIPS

    Dr. Robert Remien

    Are you in a mixed-status relationship and need advice? Dr. Robert Remien, a clinical psychologist and HIV researcher, is available to answer any questions you may have about relationships in which only one partner has HIV.

    ART FROM HIV-POSITIVE ARTISTS
    Image from the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1987-90;
    Felix Gonzalez-Torres
    Visit the October 2004 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's new collection of art by HIV-positive artists.