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November 13, 2006
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV Treatment
  • You and Your Labs
  • Living With HIV
  • Complications of HIV & HIV Meds
  • Pregnancy & HIV
  • HIV Transmission
  • Hepatitis C
  • Strange but True

    Is HIV Drug Resistance Inevitable?
    The way I understand it, HIV keeps replicating even when an HIVer is 100 percent adherent to his/her meds and has an undetectable viral load. If that's true, doesn't that mean that resistance to all meds is inevitable?

    After 15 Years on Meds, What Will Happen if I Stop?
    I've been on meds for over 15 years, and I'm thinking about taking a treatment holiday. The last time I discussed this with my doctor he said that if I went off my meds, I'd be dead within a year. However, my viral load is undetectable and my CD4 count is in the 400s. Is it safe for me to take a break from my meds?

    Why Isn't Anyone Researching Ozone Therapy?
    I've heard ozone therapy is the best treatment for HIV. It sounds like a good idea to me. I know that HIV is an anaerobic virus (meaning it can live without oxygen). Surely treating it with ozone would kill it, right? So why aren't researchers investigating the technique?

    HIV Treatment 101: How Meds Fight HIV
    My doctors started me on HIV treatment after finding that my CD4 count was 108. I had a rash and frequent fevers before, but both symptoms have subsided since I started treatment. Can you explain, in an easy-to-understand way, how the medicines I'm taking work?

    Should You Worry About a Low CD4 Count if Your Viral Load Is Undetectable?
    My partner's CD4 count has remained low over the past two years and now seems to be slowly decreasing (it's down to 280). However, his viral load is undetectable and he hasn't had any opportunistic infections recently. Should we be worried about his CD4 count? Is there anything we can do to increase it?


    HIV Treatment News
    Facts about one of the latest HIV meds: dosing, safety, and efficacy


    What's the Life Expectancy of an HIVer Who Won't Take Meds?
    My aunt has a CD4 count of 103, but she doesn't want to take HIV meds. Recently she's had pneumocystis pneumonia and thrush. How long will she live without starting meds, compared to how long she'll live if we can convince her to begin treatment?

    I Refused to Take My Meds and Now I Feel Sick; Am I Doomed?
    At my last visit, my doctor said she could tell I wasn't taking my meds because my CD4 count was still in the 200s. She was right. It's been three weeks and I haven't taken any of the Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) she prescribed to me. I promised I would start taking them, but didn't. Now I'm feeling sick: fevers, aches, night sweats. I'm worried I've doomed myself by waiting too long to start treatment. How can I get over my fear of taking my meds? Is it too late now anyway?

    I'm Starting Treatment; How Can I Avoid Lipodystrophy?
    I was diagnosed with HIV in 1989 and have never been on treatment. I don't know my CD4 count, but it must be low since I have Kaposi's sarcoma lesions on my arms and legs. Now I am facing the facts and starting HIV meds. My doctor recommended Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) or efavirenz (Sustiva, Stocrin) + Truvada. My main concern is avoiding lipodystrophy (body shape changes). Are those drugs good options, or are there alternatives my doctor and I should consider?

    Is Ibuprofen Good or Bad for People With HIV?
    My doctor recommended I take Motrin (ibuprofen) to reduce my joint pain, but I am reluctant to try it. On one hand, I'm concerned that a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory like Motrin might harm my kidneys or heart. On the other hand, I remember hearing that inflammation contributes to the progress of HIV. Is Motrin safe for someone with HIV?

    HIV Meds and Avascular Necrosis (Bone Death)
    I've been on meds for a year, and I'm currently taking Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Recently, I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis (bone death) in my hip joint. Is it possible that my HIV meds caused the condition?

    Is There Any Connection Between Atazanavir and Gall-Stones?
    Is it a coincidence that many people with HIV who take atazanavir (Reyataz) develop elevated liver enzymes and gall-stones? Are either (or both) of these a side effect of the medication?

    Should I Continue Taking HIV Meds During My Pregnancy?
    I am HIV positive, six weeks pregnant and living in Africa. When I told my HIV doctor I was trying to get pregnant, he put me on Duovir (a generic form of Combivir [AZT/3TC]) + nevirapine (Viramune). Since I began the meds, my CD4 count and viral load have both improved. My gynecologist says I should stop taking the antiretrovirals now that I'm pregnant. My HIV doctor thinks I should continue, but isn't sure. Who's right?

    Bleeding During Anal Sex; Is My Negative (Top) Partner at Risk?
    I am an HIV-positive bottom. After having protected sex with my HIV-negative boyfriend, I found I was bleeding from my anus. It turned out I had internal hemorrhoids. After taking suppositories and Metamucil I feel better, but I'm still worried about having sex with my partner. Is it safe? Should he get post-exposure prophylaxis if I bleed again?

    Do I Need to Worry About Reinfecting My Boyfriend if He Gave Me HIV?
    A few months ago I got HIV from my boyfriend. Assuming we are monogamous and have no other sexually transmitted diseases, is it safe for us to have unprotected sex?

    Rapid HIV Test vs. ELISA: Which Is More Accurate?
    Are the OraSure and OraQuick HIV saliva tests, which give you results in 20 minutes, as accurate as ELISA blood tests?

    Why Did the Emergency Room Refuse to Give Me PEP?
    I had unprotected, insertive anal sex with a person of unknown HIV status. I went to the nearest emergency room and asked for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The doctors there told me that my risk of getting infected was low and wouldn't treat me. Why?

    HIV Vaccine Development: What's the Holdup?
    Why is it taking so long to make an HIV vaccine that works? How long must we wait?

    Newly Infected With Hep C; Is My Life Over?
    I was recently infected with hepatitis C by a contaminated tattoo needle. I'm only 23; what hope do I have that I can still live a normal life?

    I Blew a Man's Whistle -- Literally
    I was working with a sports team, and the coach threw me his whistle so I could fill in for him while the team was doing practice drills. The whistle tasted funny, but I didn't see any blood or anything else on it. However, now I'm scared because I have a sore throat, sore lymph nodes, night sweats and a white coating on my tongue. Did I get HIV from the coach's whistle?

    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the November 2006 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Vinnie," 2000; Peter Wyman
    Visit the November 2006 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery is entitled "Hot Chicks and Others"; it's curated by Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, the curator at Jersey City Museum, where she organizes exhibitions of contemporary art featuring work by both established and emerging artists in the New Jersey and New York region.