Health : HIV Medications

HIV medications today have far less toxic than the older medications. Side effects are more manageable today than ever before.  I am going to focus on three side effects that affected me and what I did to manage them. These are Lipodystrophy or fat redistribution, enlarged parotid glands on the neck and muscle loss. 

Lipodystrophy affects everyone differently. Some see the facial wasting or fat accumulates on the back below the neck and a hump appears or we get visceral fat around the organs which makes the stomach seem large. 

Couple things can be done for facial wasting:  implants or fillers. I noticed my cheeks were losing fat around 2005.  I read about fillers and made an appointment to see what my options were. The process is really simple, very little pain and considering what it did for my self-esteem well worth it. The sad thing is this is not covered by insurance but the NIH is evaluating fillers to see if they can be covered under insurance and Medicaid so the out of pocket won’t be so bad

Visceral fat is hard to get rid of but not impossible. No matter how many sit-ups I was doing it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere.  A friend of mine suggested Yohimbe Tree Bark. I bought some and I think it is working.  Remember that diet and exercise are important when staying healthy.

High Triglycerides have plagued me for years. Taking my pill each day to lower them wasn’t helping that much. A friend of mine told me about adding cinnamon to my diet. A year later, my levels are where they should be.  One teaspoon in my coffee each morning is all it takes. 

Muscle wasting was a big issue for me as well. My legs seemed to be getting smaller. I went to my doctor and found out I had low-t. I started testosterone shots over a year ago and have never felt better. My mood is much better as well as my outlook.  Not to mention I have gained muscle mass where I lost it.

The hardest one for me was parotid swelling. I started noticing my face getting larger around my ears a couple years ago. It wasn’t so noticeable to others but to me I felt like jabba the hut. I found a great doctor in LA who specializes in treating this with radiation.  I drove to LA for 6 weeks for 16 treatments. The results have been amazing to see over time. People look at me now and see something different but they don’t know what it is. This is covered by most insurance plans. If you would like more information send me an email to my Adam 4 Adam account.

Managing HIV is one thing and managing the side effects is another.  The good thing is most of these things do not cost a fortune.  The results are great and the boost to self-esteem is even better.


Thoughts?  Comments?

g skorich aka eastvalleyoral

There are 29 comments

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  1. Dennis

    I too am positive but non of those things have happen to me in fact sometimes the only thing that lets me know I’m different os when I take that little pill #shrug 🙂

  2. ChristopherM

    I was diagnosed in 2011. I take Sustiva and Combivir. I gained a ton of weight due to lack of exercise and diet. I’ve been eating very well for several months now and working out hard four days a week since February, but I’ve only lost ten pounds. I haven’t found any evidence that my meds cause weight gain. Do you know of any?

  3. atomickiwis

    One of the side effects I have developed in a short time is neuropathy. It started in my fingers and has moved up to the wrists. I have only been positive for just over 5 years and been on medication for four years. I have also had some off and on nausea with the medications, which has contributed to some weight loss. Other than that I have tolerated my medications very well and am pleased with the results. I have been warned by my doctor that the side effects you mention are a very real possibility in the long term and that it takes specialists to handle the resulting side effects.

  4. steven z

    can you please send me a copy of this to my email address, I would like to go over this with my doctor, and getting a round large hard stomach, but im am overeating and not always eating the right things, thanks for the article


  5. John

    Could you send me more about the parotid gland swelling info, I would like to know some of the treatments involving radiation ect, Thank you

  6. Me

    I’m 22 and found out I was positive in December. I’m so afraid as to what will happen with the rest of my life. I started meds (Stribild) in February, and I haven’t yet had any side effects. I know long term side effects like this and effects with organ function are foreseen for my future, but my mind boggles as to what I can actual expect now…

  7. fred

    I saw an endocronologist about six months ago and asked for testosterone shot(s) but he deniedit. He told me i was healthy. I’m pretty masculine already maybe that is why he denied it.
    I wanted to tell you that i am undetectable with a cd4/tcell at 922.
    I am a slim 26 yo 5’3, 117lbs. I lost three pounds because i went and got braces and blame the weight loss on the braces and don’t eat but one maybe two good meals day. I work full time how can I gain weight and muscles mass?



    Hello gay world, specifically HIV+ gay men. Off the bat, no there will most likely not be a cure for HIV/AIDS because it is simply not profitable to prevent such an infection. It is however very profitable for you to become infected, and have to buy our medication– just for your survival. We love $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. And we stop at nothing to prevent such advancements of HIV/AIDS prevention, and cure by our lobbies in the U.S. Congress. In fact, from 1998 to 2012 we (Big Pharma) spent $5.3 billion on lobbying (more than the Private Prison lobby). So gays, please keep doing what you do to foment the spread of HIV/AIDS (sex clubs, bathhouses, adultery, promiscuity, etc.) it’s good for our bottom line and of course our shareholders. Now now, I know most will argue this is totally unfair because HIV/AIDS is supposedly a man-made virus created by the infamous Illuminati (the controllers of the world), but even so it has been a windfall for us, and will continue to be for many, many years to come (no matter the human cost). We love death, and most of all we love profiting from it. *****THIS HAS BEEN A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT*****

  9. eastvalleyoral

    HIV medications affect everyone differently. some people get side effects because of the combos, others do not. I have been on meds since 1997. I’ve tried many combos through the years. I am now on isentress twice a day and Truvada every other day.

    look up parotid swelling on line, if you have any specific questions I can be reached at my profile

  10. atomickiwis

    One of the interesting side topics that seems to constantly pop up on any Topic relating to HIV is that there are still a number of HIV negative gay men that are cruel to HIV positive gay men. There are so many GLBT people out there that complain about being bullied, but turn around and bully people in their own community. It doesn’t make sense at all. Believe it or not, but Your HIV+ friends do actually need your support, not your judgement and hateful, hurtful actions/words. HIV stigma has improved in the last 20 years, but it hasn’t improved enough. I’m 29, been positive for 5 years. It doesn’t matter how I got it. What matters is that I am still human. Nobody deserves to be treated poorly because of their HIV status, I’m not asking for someone that is negative to go out and have unprotected sex. I’m not promoting unsafe sex at all. I’m promoting practice what you preach. If you want to end bullying be kinder to others. If you want to end HIV infection, Wrap it up! We also need HIV positive guys to be more about their statuses. It will help newly infected guys find support, friends and maybe a partner.

  11. scott

    Warning about Yohimbe Bark supplement for Lipo. what is not mentioned in this blog is the dangerouse side effects. i just bought and took a capsule. felt horrible 30 min later. consult your doctor. can cause rapid heart beat. known to block insulin for people on diabetes. look it up on the internet. more dangers than positives.

  12. eastvalletoral

    scott is right, you should always research any supplement and be aware that side effects to exist. the tree bark does increase blood pressure so be careful.

  13. Douglas

    I’m with Mike. The emphasis should be on remaining HIV-negative.

    Atomickiwis, it’s refreshing to hear from a responsible and reasonable poz guy. While of course I don’t believe that those who are positive should be categorically stigmatized, it’s hard not to stigmatically view those individuals whose behavior is more likely, rather than less likely, to perpetuate the transmission of the virus. Some poz guys go so far as to militantly argue that, because their viral load is undetectable (so they say), negative guys should be willing to have unprotected sex (even as the bottom) with them.

    My own philosophy is to consistently practice safe sex with those who do likewise, irrespective of their status. I am opposed to sero-segregation and believe in living HIV neutral.

  14. hardtopftl

    yohimbe was the original boner pill, because it raises blood pressure. unfortunately, it has lots of side effects as mentioned above. something about the disease and/or medications contributes to fat storage inside the abdomen around the organs and intestines (among other spots) instead of just under the skin. it is extremely hard to lose. (Crixivan was notorious for lipodytrophy) there is a new inject-able medicine called Egrifta — very expensive, but they do have co-pay assistance cards. I have seen a little improvement after 18 mo. so even if you are eating well and exercising, this is why you may develop a belly… poz here 26+ years, nearly died from Ziagen reaction, so educate yourself on the side effects, especially if your dr changes your cocktail.

  15. warren

    yes could you send me some information about parotid gland swelling information would like to see if there is a doctor that specializes in this in my area.

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