February/March #132 : How the Other Half Lives - by Christopher Murray

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Table of Contents

The View

Status Seekers

Mentors-Feb/March 2007

Filling Station

Behind Every Good Woman?

How the Other Half Lives


Reyataz: Out With the Two Old, and In With One New

Ask the Sexpert-Feb/March 2007

Clap Trap

In the House

Pay It Forward

Health By Chocolate

Heart Condition

Saved by the Belly

Party Games

Discomfort Inn

Disobedience School

Styx and Stones

Parental Guidance

Oral Majority

Office Flirt

Who’s the Boss

Ed Letter-Feb/March 2007

Mailbox-Feb/March 2007

Catch of the Month-Feb/March 2007

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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February / March 2007

How the Other Half Lives

by Christopher Murray

Will gender-changing hormones neuter your HIV regimen?

Gender-switching hormones may morph your voice, body hair and fat. If you’re positive, will HIV meds interact with hormone treatments, threatening unwanted alterations as well?

“There are no data,” says Gal Meyer, MD, of New York City’s Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which has many positive transgender clients. We do know this: Hormone treatments, before or after transgender surgery, can cause blood clots and other side effects, some resembling those of HIV meds. Some HIV meds (think protease inhibitors) can alter hormone levels in the blood. Most information, however, remains anecdotal or was projected from studies of oral contraceptives containing estrogen, the male-to-female hormone.

On the flip side, Meyer says, “I’ve never seen [interactions where hormones alter HIV drug levels].” He has, however, seen one case where an HIV med, non-nuke Viramune, seemed to undercut estrogen. Yet a 2005 study listed many potential interactions, and a 2006 American Journal of Public Health report found disproportionately high numbers of trans folk ducking HIV med doses. Kim Watson, a positive transgender advocate from the Bronx, adds that trans people often skip needed hormone-level checks because “as long as the hormones help them look the way they want, they don’t worry about contraindications with HIV drugs.”  

Ray Carannante, a social worker at NYC’s Gender Identity Project, says that’s because positive trans people often focus instead on getting gender-changing surgeries. “I have a client who has been trans—and positive—for many, many years,” he says. “She still can’t find a surgeon to help her.” Remember: While seeing a doc, keep your hormones—and HIV—in check.     

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