HIV and Gastric Bypass

Cam L.
on 11/11/09 3:24 am - Seattle, WA
Hello everyone!

So here is my question. I recently started seeing a really great guy who happens to be HIV positive and I am not.  Having worked as a volunteer for years I really wasn't bothered by the news since I exclusively a top and always safe.  My risk factor is pretty low.  However he asked me a question I hadn't really considered.  if, despite our best efforts, I do contract HIV, what are the additional risks/complications/ etc... that my GB surgery add to the situation? Are my treatment options reduced or hindered due to malabsorbtion? Since the change in my digestive tract reduces live cultures and digestive enzymes, which already make me more susceptible to catching colds etc, does that increase my risks?

Has anyone been through this with their doctor, or in their own GB experience and they can share? If your not comfortable sharing on the message board I promise to keep your info confidential should you be so kind as to send a PM. 

Thanks in Advance!

Surgery Date: 12.14.05
Presurgery weight: 400 lbs
Current weight: 238
on 11/11/09 6:54 am

What a good question.. We are so absorbed in teh community here, and my partner is doing the Aids LifeCycle for her second year.. And she worked at the OC LGBT Center for 5 years, my suggestion would be to contact the San Francisco Aids Foundation. I only suggest them because they are the largest. They should be able to help you.

I have found a new way of life that has kept me at Goal since 2008.. And keeping it that way!
on 11/11/09 10:13 am - Ft.Worth, TX
I am HIV+ and recently had the by-pass surgery. The absorbtion issue is handeled by crushing the med's and drinking them with water or by useing liquid version's. Now all is not well as the med's taste horrible in there liquid form and when crused and some of them can not be crushed but so far it  has limited a alternitives. Of corse we can not know the future and there might be some issues down the road. The best thing to do is keep playing safe and dont become positive.
   Good luck in your new relationship!
(deactivated member)
on 11/11/09 11:39 am, edited 1/25/10 5:29 am
on 11/11/09 1:08 pm - North Haven, CT
RNY on 03/24/08 with
I am negative and was involved with someone that was positive last winter. When that relationship ended, my doctor was actually pleased. Recently I met someone that is positive and I have discussed this with my and several other doctors and other health care people as well as talking about it in my support group. All say the same thing......DON'T.
They all said basically the same thing. By having by-pass surgery our immune systems are compromized as it is by the malabsorption factors so we are at even greater risk of getting infected, whether it is HIV or the common cold or flu.

"Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun."

on 11/12/09 1:05 am - DC
I very much appreciate the openness and honesty of this question and the responses. It has been a factor in considering WLS for myself. I am not poz though my partner is and I have asked myself the question - what if?  How does WLS change my potential treatment options. And not just HIV. If I peer into the crystal ball, what other ailments might potentialy affect me and the magic pills that can correct them. Will absorption be a major issue or one that I could work around (crushing pills, liquid forms, etc.)

Yes we all agree prevention is the thing to put the most effort into. But sh*t happens and I like knowing I've got a pooper scooper handy too.
So, I am to understand that there will be no side dishes tonight? - Eric Cartman 

on 11/21/09 6:55 am
VSG on 08/26/08 with
Have you considered the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy? The main difference between this surgery and the others is that there is NO malabsorption. No meds are off limits.We can have B12 deficiency as others can simply because Intrensic factor whih is produced in the fundus of the stomach is not so present after that portion of the stomach is removed. All my levels are normal.

We have guys on our forum that have lost all of their excess weight easily. Come check us out!!! We're a friendly bunch


Goal weight reached ~ without malabsorption!!! Yipee.....
Cam L.
on 11/12/09 1:51 am - Seattle, WA
on 4/6/13 3:11 pm - Jackson, MI
RNY on 05/07/12

I have been HIV+ since 2007. Undetectable viral load and a cd4 of 980. I had gastric bypass on 05/07/2012. I have now lost 132 lbs. I have never been more healthy in my life. I went from 12 pills a day down to my 1 HIV medication. All other health problems went away once i was able to get the weight off. I was able to take me pills and everything. That is my experience. Didnt really have any complications.

Cam L.
on 11/12/09 1:53 am - Seattle, WA
Post Date: 11/12/09 9:51 am
Thank you so much to everyone for your honesty and candor! I appreciate people not being afraid to say they don't know and direct me someplace else.  To share their experience thus far, and even to share with me what people say to them after a "break up".  Sometimes you don't get that honest answer from those close to you until after the fact, which seems sad to me. 

In any case I really think the answer to this is no one is really sure.  There are no long term studies.  Though I don't know if you are actually more susceptible to contracting HIV as you would be a Cold or the Flu (due to the way of the exposure and your body's ability or complete inability to attach the HIV virus), I think the risk factors are real SHOULD you contract the virus.  I think it is excellent advice that you shouldn't go crushing pills without consulting your doctor. That is good advice for ALL of us. 

It seems most of you have had surgery in the last year or so.  Being almost four years out I can tell you that you will again swallow pills.  I take a vitamin E and a multivitamin gel cap that are quite large and have for the past year or so.  Now I can't take a claritin 24 D and truly digest the pill.  But my mom is a nurse and if I need it I score the sides to cut a hole in the slow release coating.  But like TheBigBear pointed out in the other thread of HIV info (which I read before posting this) some pills aren't meant to be crushed.  Iron is like that! It feels like you swallowed glass! Trust me, I made that mistake three or four times before I figured out  a staple hadn't come loose and I was trying to pass it. 

Anyway, thank you all again so much! Your info has been very, very helpful.  Our health is more fragile and it is something we just don't think about often enough. 

Cam :) 
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