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    Message 1 of 139 , Feb 6, 2007
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      The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource

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      February 6, 2007
      In This Hot Topics: Living With HIV HIV Treatment Complications of HIV & HIV Meds Hepatitis C Strange but True
       LIVING WITH HIV

      What's the "Average Lifespan" for HIVers -- and Why?
      Dr. Wohl, in your podcast interview on The Body last week, you discussed a recent study that came up with an "average lifespan" of 24.2 years for people diagnosed with HIV. I have many questions about what this research means, what it says about the good (and bad) effects of HIV medications, and how the scientists came to their conclusion. Could you shed some more light on the results of this study?

      You can listen to Dr. Wohl talk about the "average lifespan" study by clicking here, or read a transcript here. The discussion was part of a larger podcast in which Dr. Wohl recaps the top HIV medical stories of 2006; click here to read or listen to the full interview.


      Have We Given Up on a "Cure" for HIV?
      I'm dismayed at the extent to which people seem to have given up on finding a cure for HIV. Huge amounts of money seem to be flowing towards vaccine and microbicide research, which is all really encouraging. But what about those of us who are already infected? Will we just be left out in the cold when the problem seems to have been "solved" by a vaccine? Are there any organizations who are still researching a cure? I don't look forward to taking pills every day for 40 years!


      What Does a Low HIV Replication Capacity Signify?
      I am trying to determine if I need to go on meds; my CD4 count is 311 and my viral load is low. I took a resistance test and the results yielded a replication capacity of 21 percent. My doctor says this is low, which is good, right? The test also showed resistance to the NNRTI class of HIV meds. Is it safe for me to wait a while longer before committing to a regimen?
      BACK TO TOP
       HIV TREATMENT

      Does My Regimen Have a Time Limit?
      I have been on the same regimen of HIV meds for about two years. My health is in great shape: My CD4 count is up and my viral load is down. However, I read somewhere that my regimen -- Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) + Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) -- has a length of treatment of about two years. Is this true?


      High CD4, "Average" Viral Load: When Should I Start Treatment?
      Since I was diagnosed with HIV in December 2005, my CD4 count has generally hovered in the 500s and my viral load has ranged from 25,000 to 86,000. When do you think I should begin taking meds?


      Treatment During Acute HIV Infection
      I was infected with HIV just one week ago (a PCR test has confirmed it). When I was exposed, my doctor immediately prescribed Combivir (AZT/3TC) + Viracept (nelfinavir) to prevent HIV infection, but due to a pharmacist's error, I was given a much lower dose of Viracept than I was prescribed. I'm now taking the correct dose, but since I definitely have HIV, should I continue taking Combivir + Viracept, or should I switch to more aggressive treatment?


      If I'm Doing Well on Combivir + Sustiva, Should I Still Switch to Atripla?
      I've been taking Combivir (AZT/3TC) + Sustiva (efavirenz, Stocrin) since April 2003. During this time, my viral load has consistently been undetectable, my CD4 count has never fallen below 739 and I've had few side effects. However, my doctor is advising me to switch to Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC), arguing that it is an easier regimen to take and has fewer side effects. I'm reluctant to stop a regimen that's working so well. Do you have any advice?


      Alarmed by Sharp CD4 Drop During Treatment Holiday
      I stopped HIV treatment about three years ago. When I stopped, my CD4 count was 1,100; now it's 500. Why am I losing CD4 cells at such a fast rate? I had a lot of side effects from my first HIV treatment regimen, so I'd rather postpone restarting meds as long as possible.


      I Need to Be on HIV Meds, But Could Holistic Therapy Work?
      I have been off HIV meds for two years now. My CD4 count is 34 and my viral load is 450,000. I realize that I need to return to treatment, but I hate the way the meds make me feel. Could holistic therapy work for me?
      BACK TO TOP
       COMPLICATIONS OF HIV & HIV MEDS

      Ringing in My Ears Is Driving Me Crazy
      My stats are fine (CD4 count 550, viral load 750), but I feel awful: I'm tired all the time and I never want to get out of bed. I'm also suffering from neuropathy. The worst part of it is that my ears are constantly ringing. Please tell me: Why am I feeling this way?


      Why Are My Cheeks Swelling?
      I've been HIV positive for 25 years, with a current CD4 count of 150 and an undetectable viral load. I've been undergoing treatment for facial wasting (Sculptra) with excellent results. On my last visit, my doctor told me that the slight swelling I am developing in my cheeks could be an illness he called lymphoproliferative syndrome. However, I've done my own research, and I think it could be lymphoma. Do you have any other ideas for what could be causing my cheeks to swell?
      BACK TO TOP
       HEPATITIS C

      Hepatitis C Drugs on the Horizon
      Are any promising new hepatitis C treatments being tested in clinical trials?
      BACK TO TOP
       STRANGE BUT TRUE

      HIV From a Lap Dance With Holey Pants?
      I discovered that my pants were torn during a lap dance a few weeks ago. Ever since, I've been worrying that fluid got into that hole in my pants and gave me HIV. The last time I asked this question you said my risk was "non-existent," but now I'm experiencing flu-like symptoms -- dizziness and headaches. It's possible that I'm not feeling well because I haven't gotten much sleep lately, but should I get tested for HIV just in case?
      BACK TO TOP

      Visual AIDS
      Art From HIV-Positive Artists

      Image from the February 2007 Visual AIDS Web Gallery
      "Love Light Series III," 1997;
      Hunter Reynolds
      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, 48, administrative manager of the artist Lisa Ruyter's studio.
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    • News at The Body
      If you have trouble reading this e-mail, you can see the online version at: www.thebody.com/topics.html November 16, 2009 Visit the Forums Hot Topics Library
      Message 139 of 139 , Nov 16, 2009
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        November 16, 2009
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        COINFECTIONS & COMPLICATIONS OF HIV/HIV MEDICATIONS


         Recently Diagnosed With Osteopenia: When Should I Start Bone Meds?
        I have been on Reyataz (atazanavir), Norvir (ritonavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) for a little more than two years. I had a DEXA scan and my doctor said I have osteopenia and I should probably start Fosamax (alendronate) or Boniva (ibandronate) in about two years. I have a family history of osteoporosis. I've also had some fractures and dislocations over the years that have been causing some pain in the last few months. When I look at my DEXA scan report, what levels and terms should I look out for that would indicate a need to start Boniva or Fosamax sooner than two years from now?


        Also Worth Noting: New Blog: Back From the Brink of Death

        Thomas DeLorenzo

        People still die from AIDS-related causes in the U.S. -- and some of them die without even knowing they're HIV positive. This almost happened to TheBody.com's blogger Thomas DeLorenzo. When he found out he had HIV in 2001, he also discovered that he had two opportunistic infections. His doctor told him he missed dying by just a few days. In his latest blog entry, Thomas recounts why he buried his head in the sand.
         HIV Meds Have Made My Belly Big and My Cheeks Sunken!
        I used to have a somewhat good body and now my cheeks are sunken in and my belly is fat and hard. I look like I'm six months pregnant. My breasts are big and my legs are thin, and I'm embarrassed to go places because of the way I look. I'd been taking HIV meds for two years before these effects began. What can I do about them? My viral load is undetectable, my CD4 count is more than 1,000 and I am taking Intelence (etravirine) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC).


         Where Can We Find an Expert in MS and HIV?
        My partner is 42 years old and has been HIV positive for 14 years. He's very healthy -- his CD4 count is nearly 1,000. His viral load has been undetectable for years. He's recently been diagnosed with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). I'm a physician myself, and I'm looking for someone with experience in HIV as well as treatment of MS. Can you recommend some options? None of his current docs know of anyone who has done work in this area.


         How Can I Be Cured of HCV, but Not HIV?
        Are HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) so dissimilar that I can be cured of one and not the other? I had HCV, went through interferon (Alferon N, Roferon-A or Intron A) treatment and also started HIV treatment with Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC). I followed all the rules and never missed a single dose of any medication. The doctor says the HIV is "hiding" somewhere in my tissues (Brain? Spleen? Gallbladder? Thymus? Where is it "hiding"?). Yet, the liver doctor says I'm "cured" of HCV. Can you explain?


         Having HIV and the Flu: What Are the Risks?
        What are the risks and complications for someone with HIV if they get the seasonal flu or H1N1 flu?


        HIV TREATMENT


         What Should I Choose for My First HIV Regimen?
        I saw my physician assistant and was informed that my CD4 count was 288 and my viral load was 104 million or thereabouts. Both of us decided that it would be wise for me to start treatment immediately. I brought up the idea of being on the combination Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and Isentress (raltegravir), while he thought I should be on Truvada and Viramune (nevirapine), the most effective combo. What do you think?


        Also Worth Noting: U.S. HIV/AIDS Plan: Online Testimony Deadline Extended!
        The White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP)'s series of HIV/AIDS community discussions is sweeping the U.S. The deadline for submitting online testimony has been extended to Monday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time! There have also been some changes to the list of upcoming meetings -- please take a look, and follow the directions to prepare for the meeting of your choice. The next discussions will take place in Jackson, Miss., on Nov. 16 (that's tonight!), and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Nov. 20.
        LIVING WITH HIV


         Could I Be a Long-Term Nonprogressor?
        If I contracted HIV about six years ago and have not had an AIDS-related sickness, could I be a "long-term nonprogressor" -- someone whose body controls HIV without the benefit of HIV meds?


        HIV MEDICATIONS & RECREATIONAL DRUG INTERACTIONS


         Marijuana and Antiretroviral Medications
        Does marijuana interact with HIV medications?


         What's the Effect of Taking Ecstasy With HIV Meds?
        What happens if you take Kaletra (lopinavir/ritonavir) and Combivir (AZT/3TC), and three hours later you pop an ecstasy pill?


        HIV TESTING & TRANSMISSION


         Is It Better to Get Tested for HIV or to Not Know My HIV Status?
        I am afraid of being HIV positive. I am 26 years old and was in a relationship for two years in which we left condoms out of the equation (I was the "top," or insertive partner). I haven't had an HIV test for three years. Should I start using condoms now and not bother getting tested since I'm terrified of testing positive?


         Positive, Undetectable "Bottom" in a Magnetic Couple: Is My Partner at Lower Risk?
        I'm a 54-year-old gay man from Vermont and I've been HIV positive for 22 years. My viral load finally dropped to undetectable in the past year. I also have a new man in my life for the first time in a while. He's HIV negative and after some negotiation, we decided to forego condoms (he's the "top," or insertive partner). Does the fact that I am undetectable and extremely careful mean that I'm not putting him at risk? Having him become infected would be too much to bear.


        Also Worth Noting: Connect With Others
        How Do You Overcome Rejection?
        (A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)

        This might sound lame because I am a mature woman and not a teenager, so please don't judge. I have been positive for 10 years and trying my best to live like a normal human being. So I decided to start Internet dating on the positive dating sites. I communicated with several guys and decided to go out on a date with this one guy that I liked. The date went really well and we talked for hours and at the end he promised to call the next day. One week later, nothing. I tried calling him on the third day and left a message, but no reply came. I am not going to try him again because I have some self-respect, but the rejection is stressing me out. What I can't understand is how people can be so cruel. To make matters worse, I really, really liked him and wanted to be friends even if the dating didn't work. My question is: How do I get him out of my mind and move on? I have a life and I am a busy person so I am not sitting at home sulking, but this experience is really hard. -- AsiaHope

        Click here to join this discussion thread, or to start your own!


        To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous -- click here to get started!

        STRANGE BUT TRUE


         Could My New Sex Toy Have HIV on It?
        I just received a new sex toy in the mail and I used it immediately without washing it. Now I'm freaking out. What if someone used the new toy before and returned it? I'm still a virgin and I'm so scared. Should I get tested for HIV?


         A Stranger Used My Bathroom: What if He Contaminated It With AIDS?
        I let a man who was hooking up my cable use my restroom. After he was done, I heard him saying that he might have AIDS. So when he left, I cleaned my bathroom thoroughly. I have been so worried ever since. Could he have contaminated something in my bathroom? I have three kids and I'm very concerned. I've been having headaches, back pain, nausea and fatigue.



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