HIV medications today have far less toxic than the older medications. Side effects are more manageable today than ever before. I am going to focus on three side effects that affected me and what I did to manage them. These are Lipodystrophy or fat redistribution, enlarged parotid glands on the neck and muscle loss.
Lipodystrophy affects everyone differently. Some see the facial wasting or fat accumulates on the back below the neck and a hump appears or we get visceral fat around the organs which makes the stomach seem large.
Couple things can be done for facial wasting: implants or fillers. I noticed my cheeks were losing fat around 2005. I read about fillers and made an appointment to see what my options were. The process is really simple, very little pain and considering what it did for my self-esteem well worth it. The sad thing is this is not covered by insurance but the NIH is evaluating fillers to see if they can be covered under insurance and Medicaid so the out of pocket won’t be so bad
Visceral fat is hard to get rid of but not impossible. No matter how many sit-ups I was doing it felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. A friend of mine suggested Yohimbe Tree Bark. I bought some and I think it is working. Remember that diet and exercise are important when staying healthy.
High Triglycerides have plagued me for years. Taking my pill each day to lower them wasn’t helping that much. A friend of mine told me about adding cinnamon to my diet. A year later, my levels are where they should be. One teaspoon in my coffee each morning is all it takes.
Muscle wasting was a big issue for me as well. My legs seemed to be getting smaller. I went to my doctor and found out I had low-t. I started testosterone shots over a year ago and have never felt better. My mood is much better as well as my outlook. Not to mention I have gained muscle mass where I lost it.
The hardest one for me was parotid swelling. I started noticing my face getting larger around my ears a couple years ago. It wasn’t so noticeable to others but to me I felt like jabba the hut. I found a great doctor in LA who specializes in treating this with radiation. I drove to LA for 6 weeks for 16 treatments. The results have been amazing to see over time. People look at me now and see something different but they don’t know what it is. This is covered by most insurance plans. If you would like more information send me an email to my Adam 4 Adam account.
Managing HIV is one thing and managing the side effects is another. The good thing is most of these things do not cost a fortune. The results are great and the boost to self-esteem is even better.
g skorich aka eastvalleyoral