Friday, November 26, 2010

Dr Fauci's HIV prevention strategy is just outright ridiculous

Researchers found that the daily antiretroviral pill Truvada helped protect healthy gay men from contracting HIV. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talks about this groundbreaking development in the fight against AIDS.
AIDS researchers and activists celebrated this week after news that a daily pill can do a lot to prevent HIV-AIDS. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that healthy gay men who took an antiretroviral pill called Truvada were up to 73 percent less likely to become infected than those who took a placebo.

First: Who can afford this drug? I take Truvada/Isenstress, but I have HIV and have insursance. At retail the drug costs about 2000.00 per month.  Dr Fauci was on CNN recently saying it costs only about 1,000.00 retail.  Even still, at either cost, will insurance approve this as a preventative medicine? If not - who can afford 14,000-28,000 a year - not the most at risk MSM.

This is an out right slap in the face to the grass roots organizations, local, state, and other federally funded efforts out there who work hard, and tirelessly everyday to prevent this disease.

This is not an effective preventative measure in the fight against HIV. I believe it will lead to more promiscuity amongst the MSM population, knowing they have this added protection.  And if given out through local clinics for free or through other health care providers - who's paying for it? We are, the tax payers.  Let's stick to traditional methods, such as education, awareness, condoms, and abstinence. 

Let's make our focus and use our $$$$ towards work on finding a vaccine and a cure! Follow the work of Dr David Margolis.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A synopsis of my Hepatitis C treatment

Currently, unlike HIV, Hepatitis C can be cured.  However it is important to note that not everyone learning of a Hep C diagnosis will be cured. If caught early (within the first 6 months) enough and depending on your Hep C genotype; cure rates will vary.

Ok, so I learned of my co infection in March 2010 and was devastated. However, I began ART (Anti Retroviral Therapy) right away for my HIV and went from a VL of 1,000,000 to undetectable within 5 weeks.  Once my HIV was under control I began on Pegasus Interferon, and Ribavirn for the Hepatitis C.  My Hep C VL load began at 7,000,000 and went to undetectable at week 6.

The Pegasus is a shot I was giving myself weekly for the past 6 months, along with taking 1200 mg (6 pills) of Ribavirin. I remember the doctor doing the first shot, and after that I was on my own.

The shots of Pegasus are easy to do and do not hurt a bit - you learn the trick of where in the stomach and how to stick yourself.  The pills are the worse.  In the beggining I was taking them as prescribed by the manufacture. 3 pills in the morning and 3 pills at night.

However, I was having a hard time sleeping. I noticed after taking my night pills and then lying down my heart would race. I consulted my doctor and he advised to take all pills at once in the morning.  That helped with my racing heart, but I still had trouble sleeping.

For the first 3 months - these were my only symptoms, along with anxiety. Once I began approaching the 3 month mark I was having more sleeplessness, a surpressed appetite, and INCREASED anxiety.  So much so where I had to be on up to 3 mg of klonipan a day to control the Anxiety.

The clonipen helped tremendously and there would be no way I could have finished treatment without it.  In the beginning my doctor wrote me a script for 500 mg of naproxen (aleve) to take as needed. I NEVER took a pill. If anything, I took one aleve, sometimes two - on the rare occasion I would get a headache, but was it related to the HEP C treatment? Hard to say.

The one thing I did experience in the last couple months of treatment was an overall since of achenes, and at times when this was bad; I would take the aleve, to alleviate the symptom.

In the end I lost about 25 (needed) pounds. I didn't lose any hair, well no more than I had already lost and no scarring from the shots in my stomach. I also could have never completed my treatment if it was not for the CONSTANT e mail communication between my doctor and I. Anytime I had a question, a symptom, a prescription problem - I would e mail him and he would reply back right away. He stayed on top of my health as did I.

If you live in the NYC area and have been recently diagnosed with Hepatitis C then I would recommend Dr Daniel S Fierer with Mount Sinai Hospital. Should you have further questions, regarding Hepatitis C, feel free to e mail me or post a comment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When is the last time you had a Hepatitis C test?

)If you are HIV Negative, do you know your HEP C status?

Hep C is not only prevelent amongst IV drug users. It is actually more common in non IV Drug users. And especially amongst MSM (Men who have sex with Men). HEP C amongst MSM has become a Worldwide epidemic.

If you are going for your free standard HIV Test, are they also testing you for HEP C?
It's possible to have HEP C and not HIV and vice versa. Ask your doctor or the clinic you go to for a HEP C test.

Also, pay attention to your liver function tests which are usually done with yearly physicals or anytime you have a CMP (complete metabolic panel).  If your ALT and AST number are elevated - it COULD be an indicator of Hep C.

You can get vaccinated against Hep A & B , but no vaccination exists for Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C can lead to serious liver damage, especially if you are co-infected with HIV.

You can listen to my Doctor Dr Daniel Fierer with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York as he spoke at the 2009 International Hepatitis C conference.

Dr Daniel Fierer Speaking at an International Hepatitis C conference in 2009 (Part 1)

Dr Daniel Fierer Speaking at an international Hepatitis C conference in 2009 (Part 2)

Dr Daniel Fierer Speaking at an International Hepatitis C conference in 2009 (Part 3)

Friday, November 19, 2010

A letter to Kohl's Headquarters regarding my Mom

Corporate Headquarters
Kohl's Department Stores

W17000 Ridgewood Drive
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
November 19th, 2010

Dear Kohl’s,

I am writing to you with the encouragement of Tom Archer, President of the Second Wind Lung Transplant Association, Inc.

My Mom:
For as long as she has been able, she has always been one to be on the go from sun up to sun down, running errands, working, and shopping until she dropped.  I remember when my mom could shop all day and still have breath in her at the end of the day.  Now, with her illness, it’s hard to make it even out her front door without becoming breathless. 

Throughout her illness, shopping and getting her hair done weekly and going out to dinner once in a while have become her enjoyments in life.  When she takes her last breath, it will be either in Kohl’s (store number  or at Zen’s Hair Salon.  Well, that’s if she could have it her way. 

Up until recently she has been able to use the walking carts to get around, but her disease has progressed to a point where she now needs a wheel chair to shop. She is currently undergoing pre-lung transplant testing and my family hopes that she is placed on the transplant list and gets the lung she needs to shop until she can drop again.

On a recent shopping outing we ran into a problem with the wheelchairs Kohl’s has on hand.  The back of the chairs are missing simple “O rings” to be able to hold oxygen tanks.

As you see from the pictures that I am sending you, it was an uncomfortable shopping experience for my Mom and her trip to your store diminished her keenness to ever shop again.   As a caregiver I want to make my mother’s shopping experience as comfortable as possible for her.

I have a simple request. Would Kohl’s be willing to fit its wheelchairs with simple O ring to be able to hold oxygen tanks, and maybe even a long metal arm extending upward from the wheel chair to hang clothes on as we shop?  I do appreciate that you have chairs on hand for those that need them.  I hope Kohl’s can make these simple modifications to the chairs on hand.

I am writing this letter on behalf of all of those with COPD and other lung diseases that require the use of oxygen, and for their care givers.

Below are some statistics on COPD from the American Lung Association:

·         COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. "Progressive" means the disease gets worse over time.
·         Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD. Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD.
·         COPD is a major cause of disability, and it's the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.
·         61,000 women and 57,260 men died of the disease in 2004; about 12 million adults in the U.S. have COPD.
·         COPD develops slowly. Symptoms often worsen over time and can limit one’s ability to do routine activities. Severe COPD may prevent one (such as my Mom) from doing even basic activities like walking, cooking, or taking care of oneself, and shopping!!
·         Most of the time, COPD is diagnosed in middle-aged or older people.

"COPD is a huge problem in women," says MeiLan Han, MD, MS, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, and director of its Women's Respiratory Health Clinic.

She is the lead author of a clinical commentary on the topic of gender and COPD published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

COPD in women has been on the rise in recent years. More women than men in the U.S. now die from it each year, she says.
I appreciate you taking the time to read my letter, and meet my Mother, and I look forward to your response.  Thank You!


Kevin Maloney

Kohl's Responds to my letter

The power of positive affirmations

The Power of Affirmations
By Remez Sasson

Affirmations are positive statements that describe a desired situation, and which are repeated many times, in order to impress the subconscious mind and trigger it into positive action. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the affirmations, they have to be repeated with attention, conviction, interest and desire.

Imagine that you are swimming with your friends in a swimming pool. They swim fifteen rounds, something you have never done before, and desiring to win the respect of your friends, you want to show them that you can make it too. You start swimming, and at the same time keep repeating in your mind, "I can do it, I can do it...". You keep thinking and believing that you are going to complete the fifteen rounds. What are you actually doing? You are repeating positive affirmations.

More than often, people repeat in their minds negative words and statements concerning the situations and events in their lives, and consequently bring upon themselves undesirable situations. Words and statements work both ways, to build or destroy. It is the way we use them that determines whether they are going to bring good or harmful results.
Often, people repeat negative statements in their minds, without even being aware of what they are doing. Do you keep thinking and telling yourself that you cannot do something, that you are too lazy, lack inner strength or that you are going to fail? Your subconscious mind accepts as true what you keep saying, and eventually attracts corresponding events and situations into your life, irrespective whether they are good or bad for you, so why not choose only positive statements?

Affirmations program the mind in the same way commands and scripts program a computer. They work in the same manner as creative visualization. The repeated words help you focus your mind on your aim, and automatically build corresponding mental images in the conscious mind, which affect the subconscious mind. The conscious mind, the mind you think with, starts this process, and then the subconscious mind takes charge. By using this process consciously and intently, you can affect your subconscious mind and thereby transform your habits, behavior, mental attitude and reactions, and even reshape your external life.

Sometimes results appear quickly, but often more time is required. Depending on your goal, sometimes you might attain immediate results, and sometimes it might take days, weeks, months or more. Getting results depends on several factors, such as the time, focus, faith and feelings you invest in repeating your affirmations, on the strength of your desire, and on how big or small is your goal.

It is important to understand that repeating positive affirmations for a few minutes, and then thinking negatively the rest of the day, neutralizes the effects of the positive words. You have to refuse thinking negative thoughts, if you wish to attain positive results.

How to Repeat AffirmationsIt is advisable to repeat affirmations that are not too long, as they are easier to remember. Repeat them anytime your mind is not engaged in something in particular, such as while traveling in a bus or a train, waiting in line, walking etc, but do not affirm while driving or crossing a street. You may also repeat them in special sessions of 5-10 minutes each, several times a day.

Relax any physical, emotional or mental tension while affirming. The stronger the concentration, the more faith you have in what you are doing, the more feelings you put into the act, the stronger and faster will be the results.

Choose only positive words, describing what you really want. If you desire to lose weight, do not tell yourself "I am not fat" or "I am losing weight." These are negative statements, bringing into the mind mental images of what you do not want. Say instead, "I am getting slim" or "I have reached my right weight". Such words evoke positive images in the mind.

Always affirm in the present tense, not the future tense. Saying, "I will be rich", means that you intend to be rich one day, in the indefinite future, but not now. It is more effective to say, and also feel, "I am rich now", and the subconscious mind will work overtime to make this happen now, in the present.

The power of affirmations can help you to transform your life. By stating what you want to be true in your life, you mentally and emotionally see and feel it as true, irrespective of your current circumstances, and thereby attract it into your life.

Positive Affirmations- I am healthy and happy
- Wealth is pouring into my life
-I am sailing on the river of wealth
-I am getting wealthier each day
- My body is healthy and functioning in a very good way
- I have a lot of energy
- I study and comprehend fast
- My mind is calm
- I am calm and relaxed in every situation
- My thoughts are under my control
- I radiate love and happiness
- I am surrounded by love
- I have the perfect job for me
- I am living in the house of my dreams
-I have good and loving relations with my wife/husband
- I have a wonderful and satisfying job
- I have the means to travel abroad, whenever I want to
- I am successful in whatever I do
- Everything is getting better every day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Awakening by Sonny Carrol {inspirational}

This inspirational piece by Sonny Carrol has changed my life. I hope you find some inspiration in it too!

RiseUpToHIV Daily News Digest