Q and A

Post navigation

I have been treated for hepatitis B – what HIV medication should I take?

I have on Zeffix (lamivudine, 3TC) for two years to treat my hepatitis B. I have now cured hepatitis B. I am due to start HIV medication in a few weeks. They want to start me on Truvada (tenofovir and FTC) with efavirenz (Sustiva). I want to know when I start this medication if I should stop taking the Zeffix or not?

Please answer me soon. Thank you.

If I have unprotected sex with other HIV positive people will I get resistance?


I’m a HIV positive gay male aged 27, infected and diagnosed in 2007. I am currently healthy with a CD4 count of 560 and a viral load of 35,000 and not yet on any medication.

I’ve been scared to sleep with other positive men through fear of catching treatment resistant strains or worse. I am a passive partner and I’m afraid my question does relate to unprotected sex. I am aware of the risks associated therein, afterall it got me in this situation!

I would like to know if I were to sleep with a HIV positive guy, is it better for me if he is on meds and undetectable or would that put me more at risk of developing resistance?

Now I can ‘sero-sort’ I’d like to know what’s likely to be the safest way to prevent my situation getting any worse, be it developing drug resistance, superinfection or other hard to treat infections?

I am also immunised against hepatitis B. Am I truly safe against this if I were to unknowingly come into contact with it?

Many thanks

I had a negative and a positive test result for HIV – which is it?

I have an ‘inconclusive’ positive p24 antigen test and a negative RNA PCR test after 18 days of a suspected infection. I also had low-grade fever for two days at the time of testing, which continues now for 3 weeks.

I am going to repeat my test soon but I’ve been wondering what my chances are. Both p24 antigen and RNA PCR tests seems to be very specific to me, so I don’t know if there is much hope.

Why is my CD4 count not increasing?


I have been HIV positive for a number of years and have only ever been on 1 medication, Atripla.

My CD4 count fluctuates between 208 to 248 but never goes higher. I have never missed a dose of medication and my viral load is undetectable. My doctor says this is nothing to worry about but I could change medication if I wanted to.

Would changing medication help or am I better to stick with Atripla?


Can I take HIV medication with my Asthma medication?


I have recently been tested HIV positive and am not yet on ARVs. My CD4 count is 425 and my viral load is 125,000.

I have asthma. I am currently on Seretide 50/500 and inhale twice daily to prevent any asthma attacks. Seretide contains fluticasone and salmeterol.

I also have allergic rhinitis and for this I use Flomist Nasal Spray – one puff every morning and evening into each nostril.

I also exercise regularly. I run approximately 25kms per week and I do weight training 5 times per week at the gym.

My asthma is under perfect control and I have not had an asthma attack in nearly 5 years.

My questions:

1. If I do eventually go on HAART, what is the most recent scientific evidence in regards to the interaction between ARVs and Seretide 50/500 as well as Flomist? Can these medications somehow cause side effects when used in conjunction with ARVs?

2. Do you think I should continue exercising the way I do? I want to preserve my CD4 count for long obviously but I am unsure the effects of running.

3. If I do eventually go on HAART, how does one normally take this medication? Must you take it each day at the same time and must you first have a meal before the time? If this is true, then obviously if you meet friends for breakfast for example on a Saturday morning, must I first eat at home in order to take the medication or can you take it on an empty stomach. Must you follow taking times very religiously?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Can I go scuba diving with HIV?

I’m about to do a scuba diving course and have to fill out a questionnaire about the medication I’m on. I take Kivexa (abacavir and 3TC) and Sustiva (efavirenz) – do you know of any reason why these might make diving a bad idea? I have spoken to the pharmacist at my clinic and she had never been asked before but thought was probably fine.


I feel dizzy, weak and nauseous – are my symptoms related to my HIV infection?

Thanks for the great advice you offering.

I was recently diagnosed to be positive March 2010. Prior to this HIV diagnosis I was having headaches for a week, vomiting for a whole day and experienced dizziness for several weeks after. All the medical tests revealed no infection despite the vomiting and the headache.

Most of March 2010 I felt weak and dizzy and the vomiting continued until March 17th. Still medical tests (blood plus full x-ray of the body) were done and reveled no infection. Later that week the HIV diagnosis turned positive. I had a CD4 count of 700 and viral load of 390, which doctors say is good. They did not relate my symptoms of vomiting, headache and dizziness to the HIV infection.

During the last week of April 2010 and still on this day of May 1st as I write, I have had a constant headache, dizziness and nausea and severe weakness that is now affecting my work. I am really confused and need to understand what is causing this. My good Doctors are not relating this to HIV yet the other tests are not revealing what is causing these symptoms. I will still have other tests next week that have been recommended by my GP Dr.

Do you think it is HIV related?

Why do you think I am having these tests reveling no infection yet I continue to get headache, dizziness and vomiting for March, April and now May?

I am 27 and I think have not been positive for more than 2 years

Thanks for your advice.

How strict should I be about the time I take my HIV medication?


Just to nail down the Atripla window in my mind: my practitioner seems to think it’s very loose – as extreme as 12 hours the odd time being permissible. She certainly dismissed any notion of an anally rigorous dosing.

My personal window therefore is a maximum of 90 minutes – anything randomly between 9.45pm -10.30pm (I have been on it for 5 nights now) but your site seems to suggest a more rigorous timeframe. Should I be aiming for an exact time each dose or is okay to continue with the timeframe mentioned? Should I be picking a time e.g. 10.30pm with a ‘train spotters’ resolution? Or is she indeed correct and as long as I get my nightly ‘hit’ then whether it’s 9.30pm or 11.00pm is immaterial – which is the point she was making.

She also floated the concept for those thriving on Atripla of ‘week days – on; weekends – off’ but I have not come across this concept anywhere else?

Obviously the first part of my long winded question is the most critical, the second an interesting diversion to vaguely wish for.

Thanking you in advance for your time.

Best regards


Are yeast infections a sign of a weak immune system?

I have been having recurring yeast infections for the last 2 years. I have also been having urinary tract infections (UTIs) prior to that and was on and off antibiotics for a while.

I have read somewhere that yeast infections are a sign of a weakened immune system in someone with HIV. My doctor checked my Complete Blood Count (CBC) and everything seems normal.

Is it possible that with normal levels on my CBC my immune system is still weak? Do I need to start medications straight away?

I am HIV positive – can I drink alcohol or eat pork?


I’m 29 years old and have been HIV positive for almost one year. I have known about my status since December last year. I’m currently living in Germany due to studies and I would like return to my country (Mexico) at the end of this year. My questions are:

1) I have attached the results from the last analysis that have been done and I would like to hear your overall opinion on these and if I should focus in some particular issue.

2) I’m aware that between the last two analyses I went to a party and I drank too much alcohol (about 1.5liters) and I regret it. When you are not on Therapy is the alcohol more likely to affect me than when I am on therapy? I mean does it decrease my CD4 and increase my viral load? I don’t want to drink alcohol anymore but it would be nice to know.

3) The Dr. suggested I should not eat pork. I am making big changes in my lifestyle (diet, exercise, etc) and I would like to know if it is possible to estimate when I should start the therapy? Less than a year, 2 years, more? I’m just a bit worried since I don’t know if I’m going to stay in Germany or move back to Mexico. I’ll be able to know by the end of this year but not before.

My Dr. provided me with this website and I find it amazing with all the information that it’s available for us to learn about the subject.

I really want to thank you all for the great work you do!

How did I get HIV?


I tested HIV positive in March 2010 and I am trying to figure out for how long I possibly could have been positive. Below I give my sexual record since 2007.

Apart from one incident mentioned below, I had one sexual partner (Call it A) in 2007 who had tested HIV negative in 2006.

Around October/November 2007 I had one sexual encounter with another woman. (I used a condom and I remember I was careful to prevent her fluids from getting to my skin)

I tested for HIV about December 2007 and got a negative result.

I tested for HIV again on July 28th 2008 (I am very sure of this date) and got another negative result

All through 2008 I had one sexual partner, person A, that I mentioned above.

All though 2009 and 2010 I had one sexual partner still person A. Other than the one time encounter I mentioned earlier during which I also used I condom I never had any other sexual partner.

On March 30 2010, I felt sick and the doctor recommended I take an HIV test which turned out to be positive! I had a viral load and CD4 count test last week which were viral load of 390 and CD4 of 700. The Doctor said that was good.

I was wondering when I could have been infected since my last test on July 28th 2008 was negative. I had only one sexual partner all that time apart from 2007 the one time sexual encounter mentioned. My partner has also tested positive (I contacted her to do a test when mine showed positive). But my partner says she did not have any sexual encounter with anyone else other than me.

My Question.

What is the possibility that my negative July 28th 2008 HIV test was wrong?

Assuming I was positive then or under serocoversion could this have been possible since the last sexual encounter with another person was in 2007 and I used a condom? Do you think I got HIV from that 2007 encounter or possibly something else after July 28th 2008?

As for my viral load and CD4 results, do they give a gauge as to how long I could have been positive?


I have just found out I am HIV positive, should I go to A and E for blood tests?

I have been told this week I am HIV positive. I’ve done a lot of reading up and I have had other medical issues over the last 12 months. From the NHS website I found that in advanced cases of HIV you can get lymphoma which is a cancer of the lymph glands.

My other medical issues are to do with my lymph glands they swell up every few days and after reading about this it’s got me thinking.

I haven’t started any treatment and don’t see an HIV Consultant until 10th May I am worried that my CD4 levels maybe under 200 now and finding the whole thing very scary.

Should I go to my local A & E as can’t see GP until next Wednesday and explain this to them?

Should I try and get a blood test done and the results in a quicker time? I don’t know anything till I see the consultant and things could changed.

Also how are you supposed to feel? I feel happy, sad, angry and often burst out crying.

Any advice would be great

Thanks in advance

How bad is to sniff the poppers for a people with HIV?

I’m a HIV positive 29 years old male not yet into therapy and I would like to ask a question concerning the use of recreational drugs.

I’ve read information available on this website about it but I would like to ask about a specific one that it is not mentioned anywhere or at least I was unable to find it. How bad is to sniff the poppers for a people with HIV? Does it decrease the CD4 count or increase the viral load?

I mean, is it really of great impact when doing it let’s say every two months? Is it better to avoid permanently the use of it? Thanks for your information.

What does ‘an empty stomach’ mean when taking Atripla?

I have been taking Atripla now for 4 weeks. This is the first and only HIV drug I’ve been on. I take it at night before going to bed. The instructions state to take it on an empty stomach, which is said to be at least 2 hours after eating. I usually never eat for 3 hours before taking the tablet but my stomach never feels ‘empty’ or hungry when I’m taking the tablet. Am I leaving enough time after eating before taking the tablet or should I leave longer?

Occasionally I would have some tea and a biscuit about an hour before taking the tablet. Is this OK or should I not have anything at all to eat that soon before taking the tablet? Will eating too soon before taking Atripla prevent the drug working?

I haven’t had any nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea yet and I am sleeping normally, the only difference that I have felt since taking the drug had been a immense sence of tiredness/lack of energy which was very evident for the first 2 weeks, but which is now much less.

The only other thing I’ve noticed is that both hands feel very hot and irritable, a sensation more than pins and needles and the skin on both has become very dry. Could this be a side effect?

Is my girlfriend protected from HIV? Can we have a baby?

I am HIV positive but my girlfriend is not. We have been dating for six years and I was diagnosed HIV positive in 2008. I am now on Truvada and Viramune. My viral load is undetectable and I have a CD4 count of 250.

I want to know whether my girlfriend is immune to HIV because we had unprotected sex for six years prior to my diagnosis and she remained negative. If so would it be safe to continue having unprotected sex with her and possibly a baby?

When will a cure be found?


Last year on the news on sabc1 (South African TV) I heard that there is a Cape Town professor who had found a cure for HIV but it need to be tested on 100-positive and 100-negative people. I wonder if this cure will be found anytime sooner?

Post navigation