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August 8, 2005
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment Newcomers
  • HIV Treatment Veterans
  • HIV/HAART-Related Health Issues
  • Hepatitis & HIV
  • HIV Transmission
  • Strange but True
  •  LIVING WITH HIV

    Is It OK to "Stretch the Truth" About My HIV Status?
    I'm an HIV-positive gay man who wants a relationship with an HIV-negative guy. When we first met, he asked me my HIV status, but I skirted his question. I don't like to talk about the fact that I have HIV, because I'm very healthy and don't want to be seen as different or needy. So instead, I told him that "there is no HIV detectable in my system" -- which is technically true, because my viral load has been undetectable for the past three years. Do you think I did the right thing? My last boyfriend felt betrayed when he eventually found out I had HIV. How can I avoid that happening again?


    Make an Emergency HIV Treatment Kit for Unplanned Hospital Stays!
    I was recently admitted to the hospital due to a nasty viral infection. I had hoped to just get some antibiotics and leave, but I ended up staying for two and a half days. What was most disturbing was that the hospital clearly didn't know what to do when it came to my HIV-related medications. In one case, they substituted one anti-depressive for another. In another case, I had to instruct them on how to prepare my T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon) injection. Big suggestion, friends: Make up an emergency kit of your meds and other supplies -- enough for a week! If you have to go to the hospital, take it with you or have someone bring it over.
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     HIV TREATMENT NEWCOMERS

    NNRTIs vs. Protease Inhibitors: Which to Choose?
    How does a doctor choose between prescribing an NNRTI or a protease inhibitor as a part of somebody's first HIV treatment regimen?


    Six Months After Infection, Considering Meds
    I was diagnosed with HIV last September, right after I was infected. My viral load was in the millions! Since then, it's dropped to 88,000, and my CD4 count is now 465. Should I consider treatment?
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      HIV TREATMENT VETERANS

    Should I Switch to Truvada if My Combivir's Working Fine?
    I've been taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) + efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) for the past seven years with great results and minimal side effects. However, my doctor wants to switch the Combivir with Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), because he says studies have shown that lipodystrophy is more common among people taking Combivir than people taking Truvada. He also says that efavirenz + Truvada will eventually be available together as a single once-a-day pill. My question is, if Combivir is working for me and I don't have any lipodystrophy, should I change meds just for the sake of changing them?


    Am I Injecting T-20 Too Deep?
    I recently taught myself how to inject T-20 (enfuvirtide, Fuzeon) into my abdomen. No one has observed my technique; can you tell me if it's correct? When pinching a site, I ensure there is fat, and then insert the needle until I feel a "breakthrough." The needle appears to go all the way in, but it isn't very long; am I injecting too deep? I have not experienced many injection site reactions.

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      HIV/HAART-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

    Will There Ever Be a Non-Toxic HIV Med?
    With all the technology we have, why haven't we been able to develop HIV meds as gentle on our bodies as aspirin? Do you think this will ever happen?


    Can Liposuction Treat Lipodystrophy?
    I'm a gay, 29-year-old man who's been HIV positive for less than a year and is taking HIV medications. Although I haven't changed my eating habits and exercise regularly, I've gained 40 pounds. It's embarrassing and unsightly. I'm considering liposuction for my abdomen and back. What do you think?


    Hit by a "Freight Train" of Exhaustion, Other Symptoms
    I was diagnosed with HIV four years ago; two years ago I started taking Trizivir (AZT/3TC/abacavir). I've taken my meds religiously, have an undetectable viral load and a CD4 count of 220. The problem is that every now and then, often in the evening, it seems as though my body "freezes up." It hits me like a freight train; I feel tired and my chest becomes sore. Sometimes I get really gassy; sometimes I get a rash on the inside of my palm. Is this all related to HIV, my HIV meds, or just part of getting older?


    Fat Loss After Successful Long-Term Treatment
    I've been on HIV treatment for almost 10 years; during that entire period, my CD4 count has been well over 1,000 and my viral load right around undetectable. However, I pretty much have no butt, and I don't wear shorts because my legs are nothing but veins, like spider webs. Is there anything I can do about this?


    Sudden Weight Loss After Switching Meds
    Since my doctor switched me to efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), I've been losing weight. My doctor said it's because I was working out too much, so I stopped exercising and started eating everything I could, but it doesn't seem to help. What else can I do?

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      HEPATITIS & HIV

    Can Liver Health Improve Despite Hepatitis C Relapses?
    I have HIV and hepatitis C. I'm taking HIV meds, and have gone through two courses of hepatitis C treatment with pegylated interferon and ribavirin. Though my hepatitis C viral load became undetectable while I was on treatment, each time it relapsed as soon as treatment was stopped. I'm about to go for another liver biopsy. Is it possible that my liver might be in better shape despite the hepatitis C relapses?


    Large CD4 Drop After Starting Hepatitis C Meds
    I'm an HIVer who just started hepatitis C treatment. After only three weeks on pegylated interferon and ribavirin, my HIV viral load was still undetectable, but my CD4 count had dropped from 900 to 568! Why would this happen?


    Hepatitis C and HIV Treatment: Taking All My Meds at Once?
    I'd like to take all of my medications at the same time -- Combivir (AZT/3TC) and indinavir (Crixivan) for HIV, pegylated interferon and ribavirin for hepatitis C, and gemfibrozil (Lopid) for my cholesterol. Would this be safe? All of the different dosing schedules are messing up my sleep schedule.


    Hepatitis B Symptoms
    What are the symptoms of hepatitis B?

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      HIV TRANSMISSION

    Viral Load, CD4 Count and Pregnancy
    Is there a specific viral load or CD4 count that HIV-positive pregnant women need to reach in order to ensure they give birth to a healthy, HIV-free baby?


    Can a Tampon Help Prevent HIV Transmission During Oral Sex on a Woman?
    I'm an HIV-negative woman in a relationship with an HIV-positive woman. We've tried having sex with a dental dam, but it spoils the mood, so we decided to try using a tampon to "plug up" her fluids. Do you think this'll help lower the risk of my contracting HIV when I give her oral sex?


    HIV in Female Ejaculate?
    Do you know how much HIV there is in female ejaculate? I had amazing sex with a multi-orgasmic female who ejaculated profusely. We used a condom, but the ejaculate went into my eyes and other places I did not want it to go. What's my risk level?

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      STRANGE BUT TRUE

    How Far Can Semen Be Shot?
    I was walking to my car the other day and noticed that it was parked beside a car in which a girl appeared to be giving a guy oral sex. I tried to stay close to my car as possible, but I'm worried that the guy may have ejaculated, and some of the semen sprayed out of his open car window and into my eyes without me noticing it. Would an HIV test be warranted in this case?
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    Meet the Winners of TheBody.com's 2005 HIV Leadership Awards!
    Prof. Larry Farrell, winner of a TheBody.com 2005 HIV Leadership Award
    Larry Farrell is one of few people in the United States who can say he's a professor of HIV -- and actually mean it. The Idaho State University professor has been teaching a unique college course on HIV for years. The course is so highly regarded that some students say it should be required for graduation, and university administrators have publicly said that Larry's class has saved students' lives.

    We're honored to present Larry as one of 10 outstanding HIV prevention educators who have won a 2005 HIV Leadership Award from TheBody.com! To meet all 73 award winners in our nine award categories, click here.
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists
    Image from the Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Dandridge," 1997; Mark Carter
    Visit the Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view hundreds of artworks created by HIV-positive artists!

    Your Unused HIV Meds
    Can Save Lives!

    AID FOR AIDS

    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.