March #152 : About Face - by Kat Noel

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Zen and the Virus

Sex, Tourism and HIV




Staph Strains

No More Brain Drain?

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Surviving HIV in Prison

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The Ups and Downs of On and Off

Positive Chatter

Prostate Cancer and HIV: Treatable

On Your Mark, Get Set...Taxes!




About Face

Second Time Around

Rubber World?

Redemption Song

Southern Belles

Week On, Week Off




Editor's Letter-March 2009

Letters-March 2009

London Calling

Help Us Make History. Again.

GMHC Treatment Issues-March 2009



 
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The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

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Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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March 2009


About Face

by Kat Noel

HIV-positive Americans are taking flight for better, cheaper facial fillers.

Last fall in San Francisco, nearly 850 health care professionals from more than 45 countries met to discuss one of the fastest growing trends in health care: medical tourism—the phenomenon of people traveling to other countries for care and treatment that’s cheaper than those offered at home. It makes sense. With the cost of surgeries and insurance deductibles rising worldwide, not to mention that certain procedures aren’t available in some countries, hundreds of thousands of people travel abroad each year in search of a wide variety of less expensive services—ranging from cosmetic procedures to heart surgery. Even in the wake of the current U.S. recession, an estimated 6 million Americans will seek medical care beyond our shores by 2010.

It says a lot about the state of health care in America that it’s cheaper to skip town. But given the harrowing costs of AIDS meds, we wondered whether HIV-positive Americans were traveling internationally to buy their antiretrovirals (ARVs) at a discount. The short answer? No. This may be because more than 500,000 Americans get financial help accessing their meds through federal programs such as the Ryan White CARE Act and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP). In addition, pharmaceutical companies’ patient drug assistance programs help those who struggle to pay for them on their own.

But there is an HIV connection to medical tourism. An increasing number of HIV-positive Americans travel internationally to receive cosmetic surgery for facial lipodystrophy—and not just to pinch pennies. Some of the best solutions to rebuilding a healthy-looking face are not (yet) approved by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Admittedly, this isn’t happening in droves, but those who can afford it claim that traveling to mask the telltale signs of facial wasting—hollow temples and sunken cheeks—is well-worth the price tag of the trip, the stay and the procedure.

While lipodystrophy—a metabolic syndrome caused when certain ARV combos redistribute body fat and/or deplete fat in the face and limbs—is not life-threatening, it can be extremely stigmatizing. For some, it can take away the power of voluntary disclosure, which in turn can cause poor adherence and even lead a person to stop ARV therapy altogether.

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  comments 1 - 9 (of 9 total)    

John Barrow, Fort Lauderdale, 2009-03-31 10:31:43
I would not recommend that anyone be injected with polyacrylamide gels, at this time. There have been way too many complications, including infections, migration, and capsular scaring. The glowing publicity from Tijuana would have you believe the stuff is a miracle. It is not, there continue to be problems, and related compounds have produced problems for years. Avoid.

gary p, victorville, ca, 2009-03-06 02:13:34
Gustavo, the website for the clinic is www.clinicestetica.com

gary p, victorville, ca, 2009-03-05 17:38:56
there is much on the web. search "facial wasting". they are clinic estectica in Tijuana. been there, great people and place

Alberto Parra, Phoenix, Az, 2009-03-05 00:46:28
I agree with Shawn, it'll be great, if we can get access to a web site with a lot of info, such a prices, doctor's name, cities, kind of treatments, etc, etc.

Shawn, scottsdale, 2009-03-03 19:36:52
There should be a web site with the procedures and the doctors listed and rated by users. This would help all of us first timers

Gustavo, New York, 2009-03-03 16:53:14
Can somebody tell me how I contact this clinic and how much is the treatment, thanks for your help

victor, philadelphia, 2009-03-03 10:36:56
you would think US doctors would take note and lower their prices and keep the business here. I used to go to a doc in NYC but his fees are outrageous now---even if i could somehow get the filler for free or at a reduced rate, I cannot afford the doctors fee

Alain Filiz, Miami, 2009-02-18 15:18:50
I AM 55AND BEEN POZ FOR 25 YEARS.HAVE BEEN IN A LONG COMMITTED REL.BNUT I STILL NEEDED TO HAVE MY FACE FIXED,LOOKS SO MUCH BETTER,I ,DONT LOOK SICK,AND I AM NOT EXCEPT FOR MY DEADLY BODY PAINS,YEY OXYCONTIN,ITS A MIRACLE DRUG.SO MY SUNKEN FACE WAS NOT MAKING ME FEEL GOOD,I KNOW IT IS TEMPORARY BUT TILL BETTER STUFF IS HERE I WILL DO IT AND WILL EVEN TRAVEL FOR A BETTER SOLUTION.I WAITED 3 YEARS BEFORE ACTING..MY LOVER SAYS I AM A HOT COOKIE.LIFE IS GOOD,EVEN WHEN IN MIA.SO DO IT AND FEEL BETTER

Jerry R, Saint Petersburg, FL, 2009-02-18 12:20:29
It is a deterant to look unequal in your body due to this disease. It gets you horrid looks from people that you would not believe. It is bad enough to have to fight the disease every day just to get looked at funny. When people at the Mall don't really want you to try on clothes then there is something wrong with the medicine we are taking. We must have other choices soon or who knows what may happen.

comments 1 - 9 (of 9 total)    

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