March #152 : About Face - by Kat Noel

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Table of Contents
 

Zen and the Virus

Sex, Tourism and HIV




Staph Strains

No More Brain Drain?

Measure Up!

Surviving HIV in Prison

A (Much) Faster Test for Hepatitis C

Web of Support

The Word: Nocebo

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



 
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


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March 2009


About Face

by Kat Noel


“Our health is a personal issue, and it really does not need to be advertised,” says Anna Love, founder and director of Clinic'estetica, an aesthetic medical clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, that specializes in facial fillers for those with lipo. “If we look in the mirror and see illness, we feel ill. If we look in the mirror and see a healthy countenance, we feel better,” she adds.

Matt Sharp, 52, can speak to this issue. Diagnosed in 1988, Sharp first noticed the gaunt appearance of his face and extensive buildup of fat around his stomach in 1996. “It was devastating for me,” he told POZ. “[People like me] were seemingly healthy, but we had this deformity, for lack of a better word.” Sharp knew of several temporary reconstructive procedures such as fat grafting, collagen injections and Sculptra, one of two FDA-approved treatments in the United States for those living with HIV. But Sharp wanted something long-term. So in 2004, he traveled to Love’s clinic and received polyalkylimide, a permanent water-based gel filler not available in the United States. Almost five years later, Sharp is still pleased with the results.

With the advancements being made in facial fillers, POZ’s own David Capogna also wanted to try a nonsurgical permanent solution instead of Sculptra. “I spent a lot of money [for Sculptra], and now there’s nothing to show for it,” Capogna says of the injections that he received every six months. Diagnosed in 1993, Capogna has dealt with lipo for more than six years; it caused him to wear padded underwear due to the extreme loss of fat in his buttocks. He believes that the condition was brought on from liver disease and an ARV medication that has since been discontinued.

This past December, Capogna flew from Manhattan to San Diego and then took a 45-minute car ride to The Center of Reconstructive & Cosmetic Dermatology in Tijuana. Ironically, his trip lasted about six hours, while the procedure to inject PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) only lasted two. “It was worth it to me because before I felt like a monster,” he says. “I felt people noticed it when they looked at the side of my face and they wondered, ‘What’s going on with him?’ For me, getting the procedure was a big improvement.”

Given the gloomy U.S. economy and the fact that many people with HIV and lipo cannot jet-set to foreign lands and spend money to look better, medical tourism may seem more like a group outing for The Real Housewives of Orange County than a reality for the average HIV-positive individual.

Love doesn’t see it that way. She believes medical tourism is not just for the rich or the vain. “It’s about looking in the mirror and seeing the real you, not the new you living with the virus.” Many who pursue corrective procedures for lipodystrophy in other countries are doing it to make themselves feel better. After all, as Love sums it up, “It’s not about how others see [us], it’s how we see ourselves.”

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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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