I’ve known of my HIV status for three years now. I follow up with my doctor and take my medication. I’ve always been naturally thin, and I would like to start working out in order to feel and look better. I’m afraid the opposite will happen and I will appear thinner and tired. What do you recommend?
Julian via Internet
HIV can be controlled, but your body is always under attack. Even with viral suppression, it takes energy for your body to fight HIV. It is so important to maintain an adequate caloric intake, because your body uses calories for fuel. In the past, men wasted away from AIDS and watched their bodies deteriorate. Now clinicians suggest a diet rich in protein combined with regular exercise to keep your body functioning optimally. Avoid caffeine and supplements that increase your metabolism. A good exercise program consists of a combination of weight training and aerobic activity. After workouts, replenish lost nutrients with a power shake that is high in protein and essential amino acids. —FS
HARD PILL TO SWALLOW
I have friends who are on a once-a-day HIV drug regimen and see the disease as (in their words), “no big deal.” Should they still be concerned like we were during the AIDS crisis of the ’80s?
Harold Lexington, KY
The New York City Department of Health recently reported that the number of cases of HIV in gay men under age 30 has increased 33% in the past six years. One reason might be that many men under 30 do not recall the horror of the ’80s, when HIV was considered a death sentence. This lack of familiarity among younger gay men has affected how they view HIV/AIDS. And since many gay men see HIV as a chronic disease, they also feel it is less of a threat. There are even some who see HIV as “no big deal” and make the assumption that it is an inevitable part of life. Despite the clear benefits of a “one pill once a day” regimen, HIV is still considered incurable. I view HIV much like I view any other chronic disease. Would you want to be diabetic if you had the choice? Certainly no one should want to be infected, especially when it can be prevented. As for those who are positive, of course the simplicity and potency of the newer regimens have altered the course of HIV. Now they can expect to live out their full life expectancy. However, to classify and diminish this disease as “no big deal” misconstrues the facts. —FS
YOU DON’T WANT THIS YEAST
At first, I thought it was a chafing or rash situation due to running, but after many trips to the doctor and various medications, I was diagnosed with—get this—a yeast infection! I thought only women got these. Am I the only one, or are other men experiencing this but just too embarrassed to talk about it?
Article continues below...
Jonah Atlanta, GA
In beer? Sure. Bread? No problem. But the last place we want yeast, especially the kind that ends with the word “infection,” is on our skin. And whether they are embarrassed or not, the truth is that yeast infection and fungi in Americans has been estimated by the experts to be present in 85% of the population and goes largely undiagnosed, especially in men. Widely misunderstood and much overlooked, male yeast infections are most commonly caused by antibiotics, sex, wheat products, corn products, peanuts, barley, beer and alcohol, a high carbohydrate intake and a weakened immune system. Fungal growth typically occurs where the environment is warm and moist, such as the underwear areas and skin folds. The infection may appear as a rash that can cause itching and pain. Fortunately, once diagnosed, most male yeast infections are easily treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications like Lamisil or Lotrimin. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may want to first try Lamisil—it’s the strongest antifungal cream you can buy without a prescription. Apply the medication directly to the affected skin as directed. If the rash doesn’t go away or if it recurs frequently, you need to consult your doctor. Recurrent or stubborn yeast infections can be associated with other medical conditions, such as diabetes. If it does come back, it usually returns with a vengeance. So be aware that you may need to be just as persistent in your quest to get rid of it. —SL
Always ask your doctor, but we’ll try our best to heal you. Write us at