Q and A

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How do I know if the ARV dosage is correct when I have polycystic kidney disease?

I have been on ARVs for just over 2 months (lamivudine (3TC), zidovudine (AZT) and efavirenz). I also have polycystic kidneys and used to use 5mg hexal lisinopril blood pressure tablets daily. Since starting the ARVs I have had to increase the hexal lisinopril to 15mg daily to keep my blood pressure down.

1) I am not sure if this is the correct dosage ARVs as my clinic doctor does not seem to know much about polycystic kidney disease?

2) I still wake up every morning with slight diarrhea but no more during the day and too much saliva?

3) Every other day still feels totally sick, cannot concentrate and slightly nauseas with the most awful taste in my mouth and dry?

4) I cannot eat anything slightly acidic, or have a very uncomfortable bladder in a while. Or any yogurt or sweet stuff makes me feel sick?
Thanks a lot!

What are the lumps in my arm-pits, are they cancer?


I am HIV positive and am on meds. I started on the standard Truvada and efavirenz but stopped these after 4 weeks as the side effects had a big impact on my life. I spoke to my consultant after stopping them and now I’m on Truvada, ritonavir and atazanavir.

For the last 12-18 months I have had a issue with lumps the size of a pea sometimes bigger under my arm pit area, they are semi hard and if you mess with it enough it will discharge a yellow liquid and sometimes blood.

My CD4 is 77 (last test when diagnosed) it is daily that these lumps discharge at least 7/8 times a day and it is really annoying me now. My consultant has said it is nothing to worry about but I have read about late-stage HIV infection you are 100 times more likely to develop cancer than somebody without the condition in the lymph nodes.

It is under both my arm pit areas and I have had surgery before to drain them which has now make the area look a right mess the area is all red and bruised looking do I have anything to worry about? Other meds I’m on are Dapsone and Citalopram could it be the meds causing this?

Any help would be great

Kind Regards


How easy is it to get HIV?

I feel so stupid and genuinely need help! I always think I am at danger of getting HIV. At the clinic, bars, etc. I don’t know where this has all come from but its really getting to me now.

I had a parcel come through the post for my neighbour who is a GP. I handled the parcels today and thought ‘ohh what if something poked me?’ It’s always ‘what ifs’ like what if there was a needle etc

My question is – is HIV easy to catch?

Can I get HIV from something like a needle – lets say again for argument sake it had blood on it – it was sat in my lounge for 4 hours I guess the virus would die? What’s wrong with me?

I am due to have a test from a past previous encounter – on the 23rd august counting the days down and now this happened. If I had my test 2 days later it would bring this to 21 days.

Is there a cure for HIV?

Well, I have just gone through some article based on the cure for HIV. It has been stated that there are some treatments which could completely invade the HIV virus from the human body in 6 to 12 months. The herbal and holistic method, also the ozone therapy can cure HIV. There are also several cases in which the people have shown negative on their test after a year of treatment. Just go through on what I said and try to find out if there is any truth in that.

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?

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