The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
The Body Covers: CROI 2005, Feb. 22-25, 2005
Jump to "Ask the Experts": Home
Search Forums:

May 23, 2005
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV Disclosure
  • HIV, HAART and Your Health
  • HIV Treatment
  • New HIV Medications
  • HIV Drug Holidays
  • Having a Baby
  • Hepatitis C Treatment & Transmission
  • Strange but True

    If I Tell My Partner, My Whole Family Will Find Out!
    I tested positive for HIV in February and don't know how to tell my partner. I believe that I was infected by my ex-boyfriend. My current partner is close to my family and by disclosing to him, I feel that I will be disclosing to the whole family -- and I'm not ready for that. I have embraced my status and am positive about life in general, but I have no idea what to do. Can you help?

    Graduate-School Admissions and HIV Disclosure
    I am applying to Ph.D. programs in Asian studies, but I was recently diagnosed with HIV. While this diagnosis does not alter my determination or my expectations, it has a potentially huge impact on my future academic prospects, since I am now no longer eligible to apply for student visas to the countries where I would need to conduct research or attend courses -- e.g., China, Japan and Taiwan. Do you think it's a good idea to disclose my status during the application process in order to assess the impact that it might have, or should I just apply, disclosing only if accepted?

    Am I at Fault if My Brother Infects Someone With HIV?
    My brother is HIV positive and mentally ill. He does not disclose that he is positive to anyone. If I meet any of the women he dates, am I legally obligated to tell them he has HIV? I know that morally I should do this, but am I required to by law? Am I liable if he infects a woman and I didn't warn her?

    What Caused My Impotence?
    I just switched the d4T (stavudine, Zerit) in my HAART regimen to abacavir (Ziagen) -- and since the change, I've become totally impotent. I mentioned this to my clinic, but was told they hadn't heard of any problems with abacavir and impotence. No one seems to be at all interested! I am 56 but had a high sex drive until the med change; I've been HIV positive since early 1985, and have had full-blown AIDS for seven or eight years. Am I being written off because of my age?

    Can Vitamins Treat Lipodystrophy?
    I've read on some sites that vitamin B-12 helps stop the progression of lipodystrophy. Is this true?

    Is Vitamin B-6 Helpful for Neuropathy?
    I have read that vitamin B complex can help with neuropathy and nerve health in general. A recent article, however, said that more than 2 grams of vitamin B-6 per day was associated with nerve damage, and that even doses as low as 50 mg per day have been associated with peripheral sensory neuropathy. Yet my doctor is suggesting I take 60 mg of vitamin B-6 to combat peripheral neuropathy. Who should I believe -- a respectable publication or my doctor?

    Yellow Fever Vaccination for People With a Normal CD4 Count
    I live in Portugal and I intend to spend my summer vacation in Angola, Africa. I need to get vaccinated for yellow fever before I leave, but am concerned about the effect vaccination might have on my CD4 count. A doctor of tropical diseases told me that, because my CD4 count is 540, I'd be fine. Do you agree?


    Interactions Between Street Drugs and Combivir or Kaletra
    My doctor prescribed a combination of Combivir (AZT/3TC) and Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) after learning that I was resistant to efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin). I read that Kaletra can react negatively with street drugs. I'm working to cut down on my use of speed, but the rate at which I slow down is conservative. Should I be concerned about drug interactions?

    Is It OK to Be Detectable?
    I've been on treatment since I tested positive two years ago, and though my CD4 count has climbed steadily from 289 to almost 1,000, my viral load has never reached undetectable. Last November, my viral load suddenly spiked to 3,000, but a resistance test showed nothing. We added a fourth drug to my regimen, but my viral load can't seem to drop below 350. Given my CD4 count, should I stop worrying about being detectable?

    How Much Food Should I Eat When Taking Atazanavir?
    I've started taking atazanavir (Reyataz) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) once a day in the morning, before I leave for work. I'm supposed to take atazanavir with food, but I'm generally not hungry that early. I can force myself to eat a slice of toast and drink some orange juice, but is that enough? Just how much food is necessary when the label says "take with food"?



    Other Options When T-20 Can't Be Used
    I had to stop using T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon) due to side effects, but my CD4 percentage is only 13%. What other new medications can I try?

    Can Two Different Entry Inhibitors Get Along?
    If T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon) is an HIV fusion inhibitor and UK-427857 (an HIV medication in development) is another type of entry inhibitor, wouldn't T-20 prevent UK-427857 from working as well if both are taken together?



    Are Periodic Treatment Breaks OK?
    Within three weeks of starting treatment -- just two pills at bedtime, efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) -- my viral load dropped from 275,000 to 1,000 and my CD4 count jumped from 275 to 606. I'm doing great, but I'm thinking about taking a break from treatment. I've read that taking periodic breaks from meds can make them less effective over time. What's your take?

    Treatment Interruptions to Reduce Facial Wasting?
    I've been HIV positive for 14 years; my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is between 500 and 650. I originally took just saquinavir hard-gel capsule (Invirase), but my doctor persuaded me to add Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), though I was reluctant to do so. Now I'm considering a treatment holiday, mostly in hopes that it will reduce my facial wasting. What do you think?

    Can an HIV Treatment Interruption Help Physical Training?
    I'm a cyclist who's been living with HIV for 16 years. I'm doing great; I've been on meds for 10 years (with one break), have an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count of 540. However, I'm curious: Over the summer, I need to train by riding more than 200 miles a week. I feel like the meds impede my ability to recover and build muscle. Should I temporarily stop taking my meds, or will it have no effect on my training?



    Is a Baby More Likely to Get HIV if Both Partners Are Positive?
    My fiancé and I are both HIV positive. I have heard of mixed-status couples having HIV-free babies with no problem, but what about when both partners are HIV positive -- does that reduce the likelihood of having an HIV-free child?



    The Hepatitis C Medication Pipeline
    I just read about a new medication for hepatitis C called valopicitabine (NM283). A study supposedly showed it could reduce a person's hepatitis C viral load with no side effects. If this is true, why isn't the drug yet being offered?

    Heterosexual Transmission of Hepatitis C
    I have recently met a woman with hepatitis C, and I'm curious: Can the virus be transmitted through sexual intercourse, oral sex or kissing?


    The Masturbating Hand-Shaker
    If I go home and masturbate after shaking the hand of somebody with HIV, have I put myself at risk for infection?
    Meet the Winners of's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Joseph Bick, winner of a 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    Meet Dr. Joseph Bick, one of 10 outstanding HIV physicians who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from As Chief Medical Officer of the California Medical Facility, which serves more than 500 HIV-positive inmates, Dr. Bick transformed the facility from a chaotic, run-down operation into a shining example of top-notch clinical care.

    Want to meet all 73 winners of's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards? Click here!
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    Image from the May 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Private Room," 1997; Barry Huff
    Visit the May 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's collection of art by HIV-positive artists!

    Your Unused HIV Meds
    Can Save Lives!


    AID FOR AIDS is a New York-based nonprofit organization that collects unused, HIV-related medications and redistributes them to people living with AIDS in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

    Have HIV-related medications (including antiretrovirals and meds used to prevent or treat opportunistic infections) you'd like to donate? AID FOR AIDS will pay the price of postage if you're unable to afford the cost. Click here to learn more.