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This Month in HIV: A Podcast of Critical News in HIV

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February 20, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • HIV Treatment
  • HIV Drug Interactions
  • Complications of HIV & HIV Meds
  • Living With HIV
  • Mixed-Status Relationships
  • Hepatitis C
  • Strange but True
  •  HIV TREATMENT

    Should I Take HIV Meds Specifically to Protect My Negative Boyfriend?
    I've been HIV positive since 2003; my CD4 count is 400 and my viral load is 10,000. My doctor is urging me to start medication in order to get my viral load to undetectable and reduce the risk of infecting my boyfriend. Is that a good reason to start taking HIV meds?


    What's a "Viral Tropism Assay"?
    I've been hearing a lot about a new "viral tropism assay" that will be used to find out who can take one of the CCR5 inhibitors in development. How does this test work, and how will it help doctors know which meds to prescribe?


    Should I Start HIV Treatment Even Though My CD4 Count Is Above 1,000?
    I was recently diagnosed with HIV, and my first lab results had my viral load just under 10,000 and my CD4 count just above 1,000. Since doctors seem to be leaning once again toward early treatment, I'm tempted to start HIV meds now to prevent any damage to my immune system, even though I'm worried about treatment side effects. Is my CD4 count too high to start HIV treatment?


    How Many Times Can I Take a Treatment Holiday?
    After a four-year break from HIV meds, my CD4 count has dropped to a point where I need to start treatment again. After I restart, will I ever again be able to take another extended treatment break? Also, my last regimen caused lipodystrophy and increased lipid levels; will I be at risk for these side effects with newer medications?


    Can Ozone Therapy Really Treat HIV?
    My friend has a CD4 count of 37 and a viral load of 4,000,000. He is very sick but is only receiving ozone therapy, an alternative treatment that supposedly kills HIV by cleansing the blood. I suspect that the ozone treatment does not work. What do you think? Should he quit the ozone therapy and start taking HIV medications? If he does, would it possible for his health to recover?
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     HIV DRUG INTERACTIONS

    Will Male Enhancement Drugs Interact With My HIV Meds?
    I'm considering taking a "male enhancement" drug like Enzyte to improve my sexual performance. Do I need to be worried about Enzyte interacting with my HIV meds? What if, instead of Enzyte, I were to take an erectile dysfunction drug like Viagra?


    Can I Take Valium With Agenerase?
    I'm HIV positive and have suffered from severe panic attacks for years due to agoraphobia (fear of crowds/open spaces). I take Agenerase (amprenavir) + Fuzeon (enfuvirtide, T-20) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for HIV and Valium (diazepam) to cope with my agoraphobia. However, my doctor has warned me that Agenerase increases the sedative effect of Valium and may make me confused. He also says I can't change HIV meds because I'm already on my last regimen. What do I do?
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     COMPLICATIONS OF HIV & HIV MEDS

    Seeking a Kidney-Friendly Regimen
    I have kidney disease due to diabetes, and my kidney function has been significantly impaired. Is there a kidney-friendly regimen I can take?


    Atripla Is Powerful, But Is It Safe?
    After 10 years living with HIV, I began taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) six weeks ago. My CD4 count has gone from 254 to 403, and my viral load has plummeted from 224,000 to undetectable. I feel great and haven't experienced any side effects, but I'm concerned that a drug this powerful could cause kidney or liver problems. Should I be worried?


    Can an HIVer Get Liposuction?
    I've gotten liposuction before, but now that I'm HIV positive, I was wondering if I can safely get liposuction again.


    Can HIV Cause Dental Problems?
    Since I was diagnosed with HIV in 2002, I've been in good health -- except for my teeth. I have already lost three, and most of my upper teeth are now loose. My dentist isn't really helping, and I'm not sure what's going on. Could these dental problems be a side effect of HIV or my HIV meds? What can I do to save my teeth?


    An Iron Supplement May Help Stop Hair Loss
    My HIV-positive girlfriend started losing her hair about a year ago, and her doctor couldn't figure out why. On the advice of a friend, she started taking an over-the-counter iron supplement, figuring it couldn't hurt to try it. One month later, the hair loss stopped and her hair began to regrow. It seems that even though her blood tests showed normal iron levels, her iron stores were depleted. Just to be sure that iron supplement helped bring her hair back, she stopped taking the supplement after a few months -- and in two weeks, her hair started falling out again. Now she's back on the iron supplement, and her hair is back to normal.


    Trouble With Thrush Treatment
    My CD4 count is under 10, and although I take HIV meds, I have thrush in my mouth and esophagus. The typical drugs for treating thrush may not work for me (due to resistance or drug interactions); what options do I have?
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     LIVING WITH HIV

    What Does Being a "Slow Progressor" Mean?
    Although I have been living with HIV for more than six years, I've never needed to take HIV meds, nor have I had any illnesses associated with HIV. My doctor tells me that I may be a "slow progressor" or even a "non-progressor." Does that mean I will never get AIDS or need HIV medications?
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     MIXED-STATUS RELATIONSHIPS

    Can a Person With Severe Anxiety Make a Mixed-Status Relationship Work?
    I'm a gay, HIV-negative man being treated for general anxiety disorder. I recently met a guy I really like, but who I found out was HIV positive after we engaged in some oral sex (fellatio and rimming). Aside from my fears of HIV transmission, I'm worried that I'm going to ruin the relationship with my anxiety disorder. How can I get involved with this wonderful, HIV-positive guy without hurting him?
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     HEPATITIS C

    What HIV Meds Are Best for HIV/Hepatitis C Coinfection?
    I was diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis C a year ago. I started hep C therapy, but the treatment failed. Now, I'd like to start taking HIV meds. What are the best options for people coinfected with HIV and hep C?
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     STRANGE BUT TRUE

    Can You Get HIV by Using a Shower Curtain as Toilet Paper?
    While using the bathroom at a party, I found there was no toilet paper left and opted to wipe myself clean with a shower curtain. Later on, I found out that the owner of the house is HIV positive. Now I'm deathly afraid. I was getting my period at the time; could HIV have gotten into my bloodstream through the shower curtain and infected me?


    Did a Guy With a Big Package Hand Me HIV?
    My finger was cut by a staple on a package when a delivery guy handed it to me. What is my risk of getting HIV if my finger bled and the staple was contaminated by the delivery guy's blood?
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    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the February 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    Untitled, 2001; Amos Beaida
    Visit the February 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery is entitled "You Darkness"; it's curated by Bruce Hackney, a director at the art gallery Yvon Lambert, and Tim Smith, administrative manager of the artist Lisa Ruyter's studio.