December #119 : WHY...December 2005 - by David Gelman, MD

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Table of Contents

On the Cover-Juliano Innocenti

Melting the Winter Blues

Higher Ground

Sex in the Age of Meds

WHY...December 2005

Steps to the Future

The Fright Before Xmas

Striking Oil

A Gift to Yourself

A New Year Bathed in Promise

Weighing CD4 Counts

Trainer's Bench - December 2005

The Legal Eye - December 2005

Sexy Holiday Toys


LeRoy Whitfield 1969-2005

Earthwatch - December 2005

Tripped Up

Buzz - December 2005

Out of the Blues

A Lifeline for All

Yesterday's News

As the Virus Turns

Mentors - December 2005

Mailbox - December 2005

Editor's Letter - December 2005

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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December 2005

WHY...December 2005

by David Gelman, MD

...does HIV viral load rise when I get the flu?

When the flu enters your body, infection-fighting immune cells (your body’s frontline soldiers) are activated to battle the invader. Activated CD4 cells are more prone to HIV infection than resting cells; once infected, they produce more HIV—and your viral load (VL) goes up. But this jump won’t affect your health, and most studies show that VL returns to baseline after a month or so. If you’re on HIV meds, your VL may not bump up at all.

...and when I get a flu shot?

The vaccine—an inactive version of the flu virus—gives your immune system a training exercise at fighting flu, so that it will recognize and defeat the actual thing when necessary. The vax activates your immune system (with its precious CD4 cells), but at a much lower level than a real infection would. So your VL bump is smaller from vaccination than with the real  deal. Get vaxed.

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