Nelson Vergel is the picture of health. Looking at him, you would never know that he’s been HIV positive for more than 25 years. His chemical engineering degree and love of science led him to become a leading treatment advocate for people with HIV.
Vergel recently held a free seminar at the Pride Center at Equality Park where he discussed advances in HIV medications and treatments.
The first thing you notice about the Venezuela native is how buff he is. Once he starts talking about living with HIV, you see that he’s on a mission to help people feel as good as he looks. Vergel is hopeful about the treatment breakthroughs.
“I believe that some sort of combination approach will be used to cure us in 10-15 years. We already have a case of one cured HIV patient (The Berlin patient). But his cure was extreme and very risky. So researchers are looking for ways to cure people in a simpler way,” he said.
Vergel is the author of Testosterone: A Man’s Guide and co-author of the book Built to Survive; the founder of the nonprofit organizations Body Positive Wellness Clinic and Program for Wellness Restoration; the Nutrition and Exercise forum expert at TheBody.com. He is also an international speaker on HIV treatments and side effect management. Those seminars are frank and informative.
Testosterone: A Man’s Guide discusses the symptoms, proper diagnosis, and treatment options, along with practical “how-to” information created by an advocate and patient for 20 years regarding testosterone therapy. Besides researching data on different options, Vergel has tried most of the products discussed in the book and provides practical tips on each one.
1- Do not be shy about telling your doctor if you have symptoms of low testosterone: low sex drive, fatigue, lack of focus/motivation. If you have those symptoms, ask your doctor to get your blood levels of total and free testosterone measured.
2- There are over 5 options to treat testosterone deficiency. Educate yourself about them (pros and cons) since no single option is best. Talk to your doctor about each.
3- If you start testosterone replacement therapy, you need to remind your doctor to retest your testosterone after the first month to see if you need to readjust the dosage to attain healthy testosterone blood levels of 500-1000 nanograms per deciliter.
Speaking of doctors, Vergel says many HIV patients in South Florida have an advantage – in terms of their physicians.
“Progressive doctors, in my opinion, do not only treat the virus, but also educate themselves about side effect management and complementary therapies. Fort Lauderdale and Miami have several of those doctors. Several cities do not,” he says.
Many people don’t have regular access to doctors or credible medical information. Vergel is here to help. At www.the body.com, he answers questions along with other experts – making it the largest HIV information site. It has weekly newsletters by subscription. Vergel’s nonprofit site (Program for Wellness Restoration) iswww.powerusa.org. His online discussion group can be found at https://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/PozHealth/.
Denise Royal is an award-winning journalist. She’s a self-described “news junkie” she loves to write about current events and emerging trends. She’s also President of the multimedia content management firm Royal Treatment Media.