Q and A

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How can I boost my CD4 over 200? Can I eat oysters and sushi?

I am trying to get my cd4 up and wanted to see what I can do to help it push along? I am on meds but my cd4 is still below 200 (since diagnosed 4 months ago). I am undetectable though which is good.
will drinking alcohol make it come up less quick? what other lifestyle changes can I make?

Also, I read in one of the NAM pamphlets that those with CD4s less than 200 are not allowed sushi or oysters – is this true? I love both and would like to see if I am allowed to eat them.

Will alcohol make my HIV meds less effective?

I am confused about alcohol and whether it is advisable to drink when I am on meds. I am on atazanavir, ritonavir & Truvada and since starting my meds (5 months ago) I havent had a drop of alcohol. I have wanted to take care of myself (as I have always in the past) and not put unnecessary burden on my body and liver esp now that I am on these heavy burdensome drugs.

However, I now really want to have a drink – not a lot, but a drink now and again. am I allowed to? I read a lot of confliciting articles – some say dont drink at all and other say yes you can have a drink. I feel that I should not have anything and I really need to look after myself even more now but I would like to have a drink with dinner or when out with friends.

What guidelines are there? and, more importantly, will it make my meds less effective?

many thanks for your help, support & advice

Are meds working ok in pregnancy?

At 10 weeks of my pregnancy, my viral load was 210 000, my CD4 was 470 and I was enrolled on HAART at 11 weeks. At 6 months my viral load was 500 and CD4 was 715. I am now 7 months pregnant and i am taking my treatment accordingly. Is there a possibility tha my baby might have been infected within the first 11 weeks of pregnancy?Are the meds realy working for me? Was it late for me to start treatment?

How long will we be taking pills?

I would like to thank you for the good work that doing. Thumbs up for motivating us to live positive lives :)

How long shall we keep on taking these pills?. I read somewhere that the hope for cure is twenty five years from 2011, why so long?

Are they feeling ok to see people suffer? If I die I’ll leave my six children suffering.

How shall we wait to see the cure?

Any news on the cure?

I have been reading the internet daily since my diagnosis, i haven’t told anyone and haven’t been to the doctors as yet.

I know when i caught it – in March – i am taking my time to get my head together before making any moves forward. I will go to the hospital in the next couple of weeks – i understand that this is for the long haul and an extra week or two wont really make that much difference.

So much seems to be happening at the moment around a cure – with the human safety trail of stem cell therapy that i think are now about to go into phase 2 trials and the recent success of vaccine research in Texas.

How far are we really from this reaching this as an option for treatment for everyone? How long does it take to study these ideas and if successful get them to people?

I know i am sounding desperate but i hope so much for a cure. It is early days in my diagnosis so i suppose it is predictable really but it would be great to hear from you and have your opinion as to the state of play – now at this moment of the search for a cure. There doesn’t seem to be one website or organisation that has all this information in one place – or that keeps a record of the moves forward – or even steps back.

Any help understanding these things would be wonderful – thank you.

How can I get HIV meds in Spain?

Am HIV Poz and though in the US I enjoy a generous medical insurance policy, covering me in all states including Puerto Rico, I would like to know how if I can get HIV meds in Spain? I read their are restrictions on importing drugs into the country, however, I have friends in Germany and France and don’t mind going there to pick up my drugs. Any advice?

Does my partner’s new HIV diagnosis mean I will catch HIV?

I recently found out that my partner is HIV+. We have been in a long term same sex relationship now for many years. Obviously my partner has not always been faithfull and has admitted that he had unprotected sex with another man.

Although my partner has hurt me with the infidelity I beleive that in time we could still be happy together. My concerns lie with the risks involved with continuing with a sexual relationship. I am finding it difficult to find any firm information for people in relationships of mixed HIV status. I know that the odds of contracting HIV can be low and that protected sex reduces these odds again, but from what I read the odds are that eventually the virus will be passed on. Is this true?

Have any studies been done in recent years that give any facts about continuing a safe sexual relationship between two men in these circumstances?

What are the current opinions and evidence about drug sequencing?


I would like to know what are the current opinions and evidence around drug sequencing.

Assuming no resistance or contraindications to therapy, is it better to start treatment for the first time with a boosted protease inhibitor or an NNRTI (both in conjuction with NRTIs)?

Does starting with one particular class limit future treatment options should a person experience treatment failure on the first choice?

I have heard that some doctors prefer to save the protease inhibitors for later? I have also heard that NNRTIs are better in salvage therapy?

Thank you.

What is the risk of resistance from a late dose of Atripla?

Hi I’ve been on Atripla since early April 2011.

My last three viral load and CD4 results were: VL 277,750; CD4 468 (March); VL 3,458; CD4 550 (April): VL 1,060; CD4 700 (May).

The problem is I was late taking my dose last Wednesday. I was one hour and 45 minutes late. A stupid mistake caused becasue i was in a theatre & had to switch off my alarm. I completely forgot but took the pill straight away I remembered.

This is the only time I have been late but I am worried about resistance developing becasue I am not quite undetectable yet.

Please let me know what to expect and the chances of resistance. And how soon I will know if resistance has manifested.

Should I stop Atripla if I have been diagnosed with cirrhosis?

I have been HIV positive since 1985 and been on anti-virals since the early 90’s.

Recently I was advised that I now have cirrhosis of the liver and am exploring the option of stopping Atripla as I understand it is quite detrimental to the liver, even though the damage has been done.

I have been speaking with a number of medical professionals here in the US, as well as other folks who have stopped taking any anti-viral therapy, with mixed results. Obviously, there are two very vocal camps with significant opinions on the issue of HIV/AIDS. Although it may pose some level of risk, I’m considering stopping all meds for a while and find out if I may be one of those that does well after stopping meds.

Opinions, advice and/or personal journeys through this issue would be much appreciated. Thanks much !

I am recently infected, can diet help my CD4 count?

Hi there, I have recently accidentally found out that I am HIV positive. I am a 27 year old asian male. (doctor said that normal CD4 for asian is usually different than others.. like 450 – 1200 count for normal and healthy CD4.

Just got all others body health tested and everything in my body is functioning fine and normal.

I can’t be sure how long ago I’ve been infected, but not likely to be within the past 5 years. I can count less than 10 times in the past 10 years I had any unprotected anal sex. Most of my activity in the past years is mostly 95% oral only.

My first CD4 and viral load test result is CD4 at 444; and viral load at 290,000. What do these number indicate to you?

The reason is that usually in most cases, people with my level of viral load, seem to have a lower CD4 count. The clinic asked me to go back for testing again in a month and half instead of 3 months.

What should I eat or do to keep my CD4 up?

Last question is, if my CD4 keep going up; would that mean my viral load should go down naturally as well?

Thanks and will be checking for your soonest feedback.

What can I do about skin problems?


I have a few questions I would hugely appreciate some advice on:

Are skin problems common in people with HIV?

Since I had contracted HIV 6 years ago (but I am recently diagnosed), I have had a rash on my chest, stomach and back. I am now on treatment and my doctor says that the rash will go. I have been on treatment for 4 months and doing well (undetectable!) but the rash is still here… is there anything I can do to help it go? It looks unsightly, like a heat rash (it isn’t from the meds as I have had it before) and is really affecting my confidence levels (I am female).

Also, coinciding with my infection with the virus I also got warts. Not knowing I had HIV, I was given imiquimod (Aldara cream) which worked a treat and I didnt get the warts again for 4 years. When they came back I had cryo and that worked. They are now back again and I have been given podophyllotoxin (Warticon).

When should I see an improvement? Is there a particular reason why my doctor gave me Warticon and not Aldara again? I am finding Warticon a bit of a hassle but ultimatley will give it a go as I want thte warts to go. Will they go now I am on treatment too?

Many thanks for your help and advice. I would also like to say that this website has been an invaluable source of info and comfort in this truly horrendous period in my life.

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