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Dealing With Side Effects

What Are Side Effects? Why Do They Happen?

Medications often produce more than one effect in the body. In the case of antibiotics, for example, there is the desired effect (killing a bacterial infection) and there are also unintended effects (the na...

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Body Weight and Body Shape Changes

Figuring Out the Cause

The causes of body changes in HIV are not fully understood. In some cases, body changes may result from some combination of drug side effects, changes in the body that occur when antiretroviral therapy leads to a stronger immu...

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Diarrhea, Gas and Bloating

No Laughing Matter

Diarrhea is an increase in the frequency and decrease in the consistency of stools. It is a side effect that can arise when starting treatment. It often goes away after a few weeks, though, for some people, it remains an issue for...

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Figuring Out the Cause

Some headaches are due to the activation of pain nerves in the head. Tension headaches and migraines are examples of these kinds of headaches. Other times headaches are a symptom of another condition. These other conditions in...

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Mouth and Throat Problems

Figuring Out the Cause

There are a number of causes of mouth and throat problems, including infections, antiretroviral drugs and other medications, nutritional issues, oral cancer or other medical conditions and poor dental hygiene. A trip to a doct...

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Muscle Aches and Pains

Figuring Out the Cause

Everyone has the occasional muscle ache, especially as they age. And many people who exercise or play sports know the benefits of stretching to counteract muscle tightness that comes with physical activity. But people with HIV...

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Nerve Pain and Numbness

Figuring Out the Cause

Peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness, tingling, burning and sometimes severe pain. It most often occurs in the toes, feet and lower legs, but can also arise in the hands and arms. Normally, both sides of the body are affec...

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Sexual Difficulties

Figuring Out the Cause

It will be helpful if you can provide your doctor with information on when your sexual difficulties began, exactly what your problems are, and to what extent you are experiencing them. It may be helpful to ask yourself how you...

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Vitamins & Supplements

Appendix: Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D

Vitamin B12

A number of studies have shown that vitamin B12 is deficient in a large percentage of people with HIV, and the deficiency can begin early in the disease. Vitamin B12 deficiency can result in neurologic symptoms -- for example, numbness, ...