Black Issues : Fears vs. Facts

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Table of Contents

HIV Care in the Black Community

It's Our Community and It's Our Fight

Prevention And Testing: How To Talk With Patients

If A Patient Tests Positive

Common HIV-Care Myths Among Docs

Calling All Doctors

Fears vs. Facts


Give and Get Support at

Adhere To This

Resources For Non-HIV Docs

Resources For Your Patients

HIV Docs Share Treatment Smarts

HIV Medications and Pregnancy

What You're Talking About
Losing Hope (blog) (22 comments)

Mad That Bill Maher Promoted a Quack AIDS Doc? Then Do This. (20 comments)

You Can't Hurry Love (14 comments)

I Watched Charlie Sheen on The Dr. Oz Show So You Don't Have To (blog) (14 comments)

Charlie Sheen S&%ts On 30 Years of AIDS Activism (blog) (14 comments)

Remember Their Names: World AIDS Day 2015 (blog) (13 comments)
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


Fears vs. Facts

Theresa Mack, MD, has a response for every patient misconception about life with HIV

HIV DRUGS KILL PEOPLE WITH HIV, NOT THE DISEASE ITSELF. “Years ago not much was known about treating HIV and you might have had to take 30 or more pills a day. Today’s meds can lower the level of virus to undetectable levels. Our simplest regimens can be as few as two pills per day. Even if patients can’t swallow pills, there are liquid formulations. However, the meds can have side effects, which doctors and patients must discuss.”

IF I TAKE THE MEDS, OTHER PEOPLE WILL KNOW I HAVE HIV. “With certain meds, patients can sometimes get fat accumulations in the abdomen, neck or around the jawline or fat wasting in the cheeks, arms or legs. I usually suggest a consultation with a nutritionist and regular exercise. If you have undesirable side effects, we can consider switching you to another medication to try to minimize them.”

IF I'M ON MEDS OR MY VIRAL LOAD IS UNDETECTABLE, I CAN'T GIVE IT TO ANYBODY. “Reaching an ‘undetectable’ HIV level means  that the virus is no longer in your bloodstream. But it can go into hiding in the lymph nodes, genital tract and other organs. You can still transmit it to someone else.”

I CAN'T HAVE A CHILD IF I'M HIV POSITIVE. “Because certain HIV meds can be taken safely during pregnancy (click here for a full list of those), mother-to-child transmission rates are as low as 1–2 %. Let’s say you’re already on treatment and become pregnant. If your meds are safe for pregnancy, we can continue treatment to term. If you’re not on treatment, we can initiate meds after the first trimester. And if your viral load rises above 1,000, a C-section can reduce transmission risk. If you’re a positive man, sperm-washing and other techniques can reduce the risk of transmission to mother

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