Looking Toward the Future: How Long Will It Be?
I was diagnosed with HIV at age 53, shortly after I seroconverted. A year later I started HIV meds with Isentress (raltegravir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC) and my viral load has been undetectable since six weeks thereafter; my CD4 count has never been below 550, and I have no other medical conditions. What do you think my prognosis might be? How might HIV affect HIV my future health and well-being? What else do you suggest I keep an eye on?
Nelson Vergel responds in the “Aging With HIV” forum
Partner of 12 Years Just Tested Positive: Will I Remain Negative?
My partner of 12 years was recently diagnosed with HIV. I tested HIV negative at six weeks post-exposure. I’ve been informed that I can rely on these test results, but I’ll be testing again at the three-month mark. Is it likely that I’ll end up testing positive at three months? Does it help that we primarily had oral intercourse? How can we reduce my risk of becoming HIV positive going forward?
Shannon R. Southall responds in the “Safe Sex and HIV Prevention” forum
Does My Job Need to Know My HIV Status So I Can Take Off for Doctor Visits?
I recently inquired with my job regarding leaving early for doctor’s visits. I was informed that I’d already exhausted my paid-time-off hours for the year. I’ve only been at this job for eight months; I have to be on the job for at least a year to qualify for more hours. I understand these regulations, but I just found out my HIV status two months ago and have several upcoming doctors’ appointments. They’re requesting that I disclose my ailment before they’ll accommodate me. Is this a breach of my privacy rights? What can I do to get this accommodation?
Jacques Chambers, C.L.U., responds in the “Workplace and Insurance Issues” forum
Dumping an Ancient Regimen: Will My Body Go Back to Normal?
I’ve been living with HIV since 1998. I’ve experienced lipodystrophy in that time, namely a great deal of fat loss in my arms and legs and a small hump on the back of my neck. My CD4 count is 1,360 and my viral load is undetectable, so my doctor is taking me off Crixivan (indinavir), which I’ve been taking since my diagnosis. I hope to start taking one of the new, recently approved one-pill-a-day regimens. Will coming off Crixivan help me regain fat in my arms and legs?
Gerald Pierone, M.D., responds in the “Facial Wasting” forum
For those living with HIV, natural disasters such as last week’s “Superstorm” Sandy bring a whole host of difficulties and fears. Here’s some practical advice for those who are living with HIV and experiencing challenges after a disaster.
And while we’re on the subject of Sandy: Check out ways to help out, donate or volunteer in areas ravaged by the storm — including parts of the region where HIV rates are high. And here’s an interesting perspective on “Sandy stigma” and its similarity to HIV stigma.
Could These Spicy Supplements Interact With My HIV Meds?
I’m HIV positive, taking Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa) once a day and Selzentry (maraviroc, Celsentri) twice a day and doing very well on these meds. Is there any issue with taking a turmeric supplement with black pepper extract? I have four herniated discs in my cervical spine, as well as arthritis, and my chiropractor suggested the turmeric and black pepper to help reduce inflammation. Could taking these natural products interact with my HIV meds?
Nelson Vergel responds in the “Nutrition and Exercise” forum
Should I Switch Back and Forth Between Meds to Avoid Toxicity?
I was recently put on Epzicom (abacavir/3TC, Kivexa), Norvir (ritonavir) and Prezista (darunavir) because of kidney issues with Truvada (tenofovir/FTC). Is there any literature on the benefits of switching between various combinations on a consistent basis to mitigate long-term side effects?
Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds in the “Choosing Your Meds” forum
More Questions About HIV/AIDS Treatment:
Why Am I Not Being Treated for My Anal Lesions?
I’m a 48-year-old man and I was given an AIDS diagnosis in June 2011. At the time my CD4 count was 43 and my viral load was 123,000. I now take Norvir (ritonavir), Reyataz (atazanavir) and Truvada (tenofovir/FTC); now, a bit over a year later, my CD4 count is 251 with an undetectable viral load. However, I was diagnosed with low-grade anal lesions six months ago. My doctor has made the decision not to treat them at this time and will not tell me why not, and I’m very distressed because of this. Why wouldn’t they treat my condition now if there’s a greater chance of it becoming cancer given my compromised immune system?
Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D., responds in the “Choosing Your Meds” forum
How Can a Hypochondriac Manage Living With HIV?
I’m a 25-year-old woman; I got my HIV-positive diagnosis at age 14. My CD4 count was only 20 at the time, but I went on meds and got better. I was not constantly worrying and lived a normal life until six months ago when I suddenly became terrified of fungal diseases like thrush. I search the Internet nonstop, losing entire days looking at pictures and symptoms. I look at my mouth literally every hour with mirrors and flashlights and analyze every red or white spot. My doctor tells me fungal infections should not worry me because my labs are so good — my CD4 count is 915. I’m afraid these results aren’t mine and the nurse made a mistake. I can’t live like this anymore. What do you suggest?
David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds in the “Mental Health and HIV” forum
Does Losing My Libido Have Anything to Do With HIV?
I am living with HIV; after recent bouts of tuberculosis and herpes, I lost my libido. Could this have anything to do with HIV, or the meds I take for HIV?
Keith Henry, M.D., responds in the “Managing Side Effects of HIV Treatment” forum
Hurricane Sandy Roll Call: Anyone Out of Meds Since the Storm?
(A recent post from the "Living With HIV" board)
Anyone not able to get their meds due to the hurricane? I am so thankful that I’d just gotten a refill because I live at the Jersey Shore and let me tell you, it’s quite a disaster over here!
Does anyone else have experience getting prepared before a storm or other event? — riverprincess
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Should I Worry About a One-Time Viral Load Spike?
I’ve been HIV positive and taking Atripla (efavirenz/tenofovir/FTC) since September 2009. Last week my lab test results showed a CD4 count of 454, up from 382 six months ago; however, my viral load was 28 copies, which is also up from less than 20 copies six months ago. Should I be concerned about this rise in my viral load? I do have a cold now; could I have picked it up last week, before I went to the lab, and it affected the lab test results?
Joseph P. McGowan, M.D., F.A.C.P., responds in the “Choosing Your Meds” forum
Herpes Help: What Are My Chances of Infection?
I recently received oral sex from a girl with herpes. She wasn’t having an outbreak at the time, and she only performed the act on me for a short time. What are my chances of getting herpes through unprotected oral sex?
Richard Cordova responds in the “Safe Sex and HIV Prevention” forum
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