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October 17, 2005
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV & the Flu
  • HIV Transmission
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV-Related Health Issues
  • Hepatitis C
  • Strange but True
  •  HIV & THE FLU

    Update for HIVers on the Upcoming Flu Season
    What's the story on this year's flu season? Will a vaccine be available on time? What is the risk for HIV-positive people, and will a vaccine help protect them?


    Guarding Against Bird Flu
    I've been hearing a lot about the potential dangers of a worldwide outbreak of bird flu in humans. Is there anything that HIV-positive people can do to protect themselves in the event of such an outbreak?
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      HIV TRANSMISSION

    Getting Infected With HIV in 2005: How Stupid Should I Feel?
    I may have been infected with HIV, but the worst thing for me is not the possibility of having HIV -- it's the guilt and shame I feel for having anal sex without a condom in the year 2005! Until now I thought, how stupid can people be to put themselves at risk for HIV? But now I've done exactly that. What is wrong with me?


    Why Do Some People Stay Negative After Repeated HIV Exposures?
    When I met my husband three years ago, I was unaware that I was HIV positive. Within a year we discovered my status, but by then we'd had unprotected sex numerous times, even during my period. Yet he's still negative. How can this be true -- and does it mean it's safe for us to try to have a baby?


    Can My Boyfriend and I Share HIV Meds?
    I have HIV, and my boyfriend is too afraid to get tested. Is it OK for him to just take my HIV medications instead?


    Ruling Out HIV Infection in a Newborn Baby
    I'm adopting a baby who was born to an HIV-positive mother. The baby tested HIV negative at birth, but how long do we have to test before we're sure the baby is HIV-free?

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     LIVING WITH HIV

    I Have AIDS. How Long Will I Live?
    I was recently diagnosed with HIV after being hospitalized with pneumonia. My CD4 count was already down to 52! I immediately started HIV meds, and in three weeks my CD4 count shot up to 299. However, I'm worried about my future; even though I officially have AIDS, can I still live a normal lifespan?


    Clinical Trials for Long-Term Nonprogressors
    I've been HIV positive for 20 years and have never been sick, even though I've never taken HIV meds. I'd like to volunteer for clinical trials that will let researchers try to figure out what makes me so different from most other people with HIV. Where can I find out more about these trials?
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      HIV TREATMENT

    Herbs vs. HIV Medications: Which Is Better?
    I know that herbs can't cure HIV, but can they treat HIV infection just as well as medications can? I once used herbs on a cyst I had and it healed in two weeks. Isn't anything created by God much stronger than anything made by humans?


    Grapefruit With Kaletra?
    Is it safe to take grapefruit seed extract if I'm taking Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir)?


    Uncontrollable Itching and Sleeplessness on Efavirenz + Truvada?
    Two weeks ago, I started my first HIV treatment regimen: efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC), which I took once a day at bedtime. After 10 days, I developed a fever of 102 and broke out in a full-body rash that itches intensely. My dermatologist and my HIV doctor both say it doesn't seem to be the kind of rash that's normally associated with efavirenz (one of them thinks it may be a reaction to my herpes medication), but considering I've had trouble sleeping since starting treatment, I'm considering stopping my meds entirely. What do you think?

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      HIV-RELATED HEALTH ISSUES

    Hypersensitivity to Cold: An HIV-Related Condition?
    I'm a nurse who treats HIV-positive U.S. veterans. Recently, one of my patients came to me about a condition in which, when he's exposed to cold temperatures, he develops hives and the skin all over his body tingles. The same thing happens in his mouth when he drinks cold liquids. Could this be an HIV-related condition?


    Whooping Cough Vaccine for HIV-Positive Adults?
    I live in an area with a high rate of pertussis (whooping cough). I've recently read that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved two booster shots for whooping cough. Are these vaccines recommended for HIV-positive adults?

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     HEPATITIS C

    Should I Delay Hepatitis C Treatment?
    Before deciding whether to start treatment for hepatitis C, I had a liver biopsy done. The doctors found my liver disease was at grade 1, stage 0. I have a high hepatitis C viral load, but my doctor says it's up to me whether I want to go on treatment. I'd like to hold off; do you think that's OK?


    My Docs Say No to Neupogen. Are They Wrong?
    I've been taking hepatitis C medications for 22 weeks now. Since shortly after starting treatment, my white blood cell count and my absolute neutrophil count have been low. My insurance company says it's willing to cover the cost of Neupogen (known generically as filgrastim) to treat my low blood counts, but my doctors say I shouldn't take Neupogen because it won't do any good. Shouldn't I give it a try anyway?
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      STRANGE BUT TRUE

    HIV-Positive Coffee
    Is it possible for HIV to be transmitted in a hot drink?
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    U.S. Hurricanes: HIV/AIDS Info
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    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the October 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Armani," 2001; Stephen Clark
    Visit the October 2005 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view this month's collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery is entitled "Manner of Solitude."

    Art Benefit in N.Y.
    Postcards From the Edge:
    Oct. 17-18, 2005

    Postcards From the Edge

    Will you be in New York City on Monday, Oct. 17 or Tuesday, Oct. 18? If so, stop by the Robert Miller Gallery in downtown Manhattan! Visual AIDS will be there holding its hugely popular "Postcards From the Edge" benefit, which features hundreds of original, 4" by 6" artworks donated by many talented artists -- some of whom are widely renowned! Each postcard costs $50; all benefits go to Visual AIDS.

    To learn more about the 2005 "Postcards From the Edge" benefit, click here!