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March 19, 2007
In This Hot Topics:
  • Living With HIV
  • HIV Treatment
  • Complications of HIV & HIV Meds
  • HIV/STD Transmission
  • Strange but True
  •  LIVING WITH HIV

    How Long Will a Newly Diagnosed HIVer Survive?
    I'm a 44-year-old gay man, and the man I have been seeing for the last four months was just diagnosed with HIV. I'm not worried about being in a relationship with an HIVer, but I would like to know how long my partner will be around. Given all the new HIV meds that have recently come out, how long are people with HIV expected to live nowadays?
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     HIV TREATMENT

    Reader Response: Colloidal Silver May Do More Harm Than Good
    I've read some posts regarding the potential benefits of colloidal silver for people with HIV. My advice as a scientist? Don't believe everything you read. Colloidal silver is a disinfectant, yes, but so is bleach, and people aren't regularly pumping that into their veins or drinking gallons of it. Colloidal silver has no proven health benefits and can cause side effects, including skin discoloration. Be skeptical of treatments like these, and remember the primary rule of alternative therapy: First of all, do no harm.


    Should I Be Doing This Well on My Meds?
    I started on a regimen of Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) a little over a month ago. I just got my lab results back, and my improvement was amazing! When I started the meds, my CD4 count was 250 and my viral load was 60,000. Now, my labs show a CD4 count of 360 and a viral load of 1,000. Are HIV meds really supposed to work so well, so quickly?


    Is Atripla OK for People With Sustiva Experience?
    I switched from Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) to Viramune (nevirapine) a couple of years ago. Does that mean I can't take the once-daily combination pill Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC)?


    Can I Take My HIV Meds Every Other Day?
    I am really happy with my current HIV meds; they've kept my viral load undetectable for a while now. But they're just too expensive! If I take them every other day to save some money, would I be able to maintain an undetectable viral load?
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     COMPLICATIONS OF HIV & HIV MEDS

    What Happened to Kaposi's Sarcoma?
    Back in the 1980s and much of the 1990s, Kaposi's sarcoma seemed to be the visible signature of HIV. Now, however, I hardly ever see people with Kaposi's sarcoma lesions. Any idea why Kaposi's sarcoma seems so much less common than it used to be?


    Asymmetrical Fat Gain
    I'm 49, and I hate my body! I have extra fat in various places -- especially on the right side of my chest and the left side of my belly. The older I become, the worse it looks. I exercise and diet, but the fat doesn't go away. What can I do? Is there any way I can reverse this?


    Will Switching HIV Meds Stop My Side Effects?
    I was diagnosed with HIV in 1994 and have been on my current meds since 1996. My combo of Epivir (3TC, lamivudine) + Viracept (nelfinavir) + Zerit (stavudine, d4T) has my viral load undetectable and my CD4 count up over 1,200. However, I have severe fat loss and fat gain -- I feel like an orange with toothpicks for arms and legs! I also have sleep apnea, horrible back and neck pain, and really high cholesterol. Do you think it would help if I switched meds?


    Where Have My Energy and Self-Confidence Gone?
    Recently, I've been feeling overwhelmed by all of my health problems. I'm fatigued, I've gained weight and I can't maintain an erection. This is not the person that I want to be. What can I do to get my energy (and my life) back on track?
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     HIV/STD TRANSMISSION

    A Letter of Resignation From the President of the Worried Wells
    Three months ago I had unprotected, receptive anal sex and then "developed" all of the classic signs of HIV infection. I spent 91 days (2,184 hours; 131,040 minutes) searching the Internet, calling HIV hotlines and convincing myself I was HIV positive. I withdrew from everything in my life, even my college classes. Well, I just got my test results back, and I'm relieved to say I am negative. I'm writing this letter to remind everyone: Symptoms do not equal disease. Get tested and be safe.


    Should I Take an HIV Test Now or Wait the Full Three Months?
    Nine weeks ago I had my first sexual experience with another man. We discussed his HIV status at length (he insisted he's negative), and then had unprotected anal sex. Two weeks later, I took an HIV test. The result was negative, but the nurse suggested I get tested again three months after the incident. I'm very anxious and think getting a second test right now, nine weeks after my potential exposure, might relieve my worry. What do you think?


    Herpes Forever
    Is genital herpes curable?
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     STRANGE BUT TRUE

    New Meaning to the Words "Bottoms Up!"
    Last week, while taking a bath, I decided to insert an empty beer bottle that I found in the bathroom into my anus. I'm not sure whose beer bottle it was, so I don't know whether or not they had HIV. It was inserted for no more than 30 seconds when I realized there might be a risk of getting HIV. I immediately stopped what I was doing and threw the bottle away. Could I have gotten HIV from the dried saliva on the rim of the beer bottle?



    HIV From a Sweaty Handshake?
    My girlfriend, who works as a bartender, cut herself while slicing fruit. She then shook hands with a guy who has AIDS and sweaty palms. She says she felt a burning feeling on her fingers afterwards. Could she have caught HIV during that handshake?

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    Visual AIDS
    Art From HIV-Positive Artists

    Image from the March 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
    "Proust Watercolors: Mme. Swann in the Alle des Acacias," 1989-1990; Marc Lida
    Visit the March 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery is entitled "Camp Tales: The Art of Arnold Fern and Marc Lida"; it's curated by Jonathan Weinberg, Ph.D., a painter, author and art historian.