Q and A

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Can I do body-building if I have HIV?

Hello there,

First of all thank you all very for the wonderful work you are doing.

I was a bodybuilder before I got diagnosed HIV positive. It took me some time but somehow with the right amount of support and help I managed to come to terms with the fact.

I noticed life hasn’t changed much, I just am a little bit more concerned about my health, I’m not on treatment yet and was told that it would still take a couple of years before I needed to start.

So I just wanted to know if it would be possible for me to keep on with my weight lifting? Will I be able to gain muscle mass like before or is the fact of being HIV positive limit me in any way in that particular field? I was told it was great to exercise and all that but still, will it be just the same as before or will my body react differently now that I am positive?

Thank you very much for your help and keep the good work going.

Can I ask questions when I go for a test?

Hello there,

I recently booked a HIV test for the end of the month at the moment I am finding it hard to breath – sleep- and concentrate on my work.

So I booked a test with another clinic on Thursday – this is exactly 20 days after exposure. I told them that it was 4 weeks other wise they were not going to do it. How reliable is this test? In some answers it says 19 is ok, but 17 is to low etc but 2-3 weeks is accurate as its a sensitive test? It is the DUO test I am having.

Also I am so scared of needles, and as I have this phobia of HIV I have to make sure for my own piece of mind they are ok. Would the nurse mind if I ask her questions I know they use the butterfly needles and I know they have a seal but I get so scared. I did go once and they were nice about it I asked all sorts of daft questions but it was ok. I have the right to ask this don’t I?

My viral load is 10 million copies/mL in seroconversion


I was recently diagnosed with HIV. It is thought I contracted this within a few months ago. The ID doctor seems to think I am seroconverting.

My first lab results shocked me. My CD4 was 267 with a VL over 10 million. I feel healthy with just a slight dry throat and had recededing gums which has eased off. I am 30 years old, 6ft and weigh 11 stone.

My question is why such a high initial VL?

Does this indicate any problems with future CD4/VL i.e being VL being above 100,000 and so needing immediate treatment.

How soon could I expect my levels to level?

Many thanks

I have lost my sex drive – what is the cause of this?


I’ve been HIV positive now since early 2007, I’m male, 28 and not yet on medication.

For the last few months I have completely lost my sex drive and become very depressed.

I feel I have the signs of low testosterone levels. My sex drive has completely diminished, resulting in erectile dysfunction. I’m very depressed despite being on an SSRI (serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor), which I have been on for years and I just cannot seem to snap out of it. I’ve tried DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone) supplements but no change, cialis but no change, and changed my SSRI also without effect.

Is it highly unlikely to be hypogonadism at 28? Is it common with HIV infection? I want to ask my GP but I’m worried incase I seem like a hypochondriac.

Many thanks

When should I take cotrimoxazole?


I have recently started HIV treatment, efavirenz and Truvada with co-trimoxazole to help prevent infection. I was told to take all 3 at bed-time on an empty stomach, which I have been doing, but I have heard from another expert via a friend that I should take the co-trimoxazole in the day and the HIV meds at night, can someone clarify this for me please?

Is CMV present in saliva?

Although I understand that most of the adult population may have contracted CMV and manage to keep it suppressed with a healthy immune system, what are changes one can get CMV from male receptive oral sex if either person is also HIV+?

Is CMV present in saliva and transmittable that way?

Thank you in advance for your response.

Should I wait 17 days to test or pay privately?


I fell so lost. I put myself in a very risky situation. I have been to my GP and they suggested if i was this nervous they would order me a multiplex test. I searched online and called the lab where they do the testing. They said the test is 99% accurate after 10 days however I have to wait 7 days from the day I send the sample back, so that would be thursday they get it and then if it takes 5 days to do – 11th august then 1-2 days for post? bringing my exposure to exactly 3 weeks, on that day?

Should i just test next monday with a duo for free – at 17 days would that give me a good indication or should i wait? or go for that test please any advice is greatly appreciated – this test is also costing me 96.00 which i don't mind but its the time frame.


Can HIV be cured with multivitamins?

Do you believe that Andrew Stimpson was ever diagnosed to have had HIV in 2002 and was treated and took herbs and vitamins then in 2005 he was said to be cured?

I believe and have faith in God. I do not believe the saying that there is no cure. If there were no cure there would be no treatments, I believe that a lot of the people died because at the time there were no treatments, people were in denial so they would not take the treatment or could not afford the treatments.

Can we have unprotected sex if we have the same strain of HIV?

I was infected by my (long-term) partner few months ago (we both have good CD4 results and without treatment). We are together for many years and for many years have been practicing unsafe sex together.

As a lot of recommendations say that two HIV-positive people should use condoms to prevent superinfection by a stronger type of virus. I completely understand it in situations when I would like to have an unprotected sex with other unknown positive person. But in our case, when we have both the same subtype of virus, is there a real risk of superinfection and a negative impact on our state if we practice unsafe sex?

It’s a strange feeling after years start using condom between us (or course, with other people we use it every time from when we were diagnosed).

Thank you very much.

If we have the same strain of HIV is it safe to have unprotected sex?


Me and my partner just tested positive for HIV. We have been together for almost 2 years. He infected me but he didn’t know that he was positive. We are in a monogamous relationship and have since the beginning. My question is since we share the same HIV can we have unprotected sex we have both been tested and are free of any other STI’s.

Neither one of us has started treatment yet but I just picked up my prescription of Atripla today.

Does the answer change if both partners have started treatment?

Or if only one partner has started treatment?

Can we take recreational drugs when on HIV meds?

My partner and I are both on meds and once a month or so spend about 1-2 days taking recreational drugs – namely speed and less often ecstasy. During these ‘benders’ we are really careful to take our meds on time which is of course a priority for us, although during this time we don’t tend to sleep or eat. Are we putting ourselves at greater risk due to our status or are the risks similar to 2 negative people doing the same thing? Would really appreciate your feedback on this…..Cheers xx

Is it possible to get a false positive with a rapid test?


I was recently diagnosed with abdominal TB after surgery. The doctor filled out a lab form requesting I take an ELISA test but the public clinic only takes rapid tests. I have been recovering very well for the past month and I want to know if rapid tests are as reliable as the ELISA test? Is there a chance of false positive results with a rapid test? Is it possible for HIV positive TB patients to recover without ARVs?

Should I be worried if I get flu-like symptoms?


I’m male, 30 years old, diagnosed as HIV positive in April of this year. I have a CD4 count of 360 and a viral load of 5000.

I wanted to ask what should I do, or how worried should I be if I get cold or flu-like symptoms? Due to the nature of my job, I often get throat infections/sore throats, but more recently have felt a bit chesty, run-down and headachey. Normally, I wouldn’t worry and would expect to get better after some rest and relaxation but since my diagnosis, I’m wondering what should I do when I feel ill?

What options are there other than sperm washing?

I am a HIV negative woman married to an HIV positive man. My question is are there organisations that help finance IVF and sperm washing?

My husband who is positive has a child form a previous relationship and under NHS funding guidelines if you have a child from a previous relationship then you do not qualify for any funding. The GUM clinic said they can apply for sperm washing under risk reduction but that won’t cover IVF treatment and due to some infertility tests done on me, I will need to have IVF therefore the chances of conceiving naturally even if we tried are slim.

I am in no position to afford the treatment, we both are on low income and below so it could take us 2 years to save up for the treatment. The PCT won’t even put an application for us.

Please help if you have any information

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