How to Manage Side Effects: A Survivor’s Perspective


By Nelson Vergel, 18-year HIV(+) Survivor,

Co-Author of “Built to Survive,

 Founding Director of Program for Wellness Restoration and

 The Body Positive Wellness Center, Houston, Texas



People with HIV are living longer since the advent of HAART (highly active anti-retroviral therapy). However, drug-related side effects are now the primary issues that compromise quality of life and productivity of HIV(+) survivors.  Hyperglycemia, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, fat redistribution (lipodystrophy), lean tissue wasting, fatigue, diarrhea, neuropathy, bone loss and joint aches, are common complaints. There are more questions than answers in the field of side-effect management.  There are also no standard of care guidelines for the treatment and prevention of many of these side effects. Fortunately, some emerging options are being used and investigated by clinicians around the world to deal with them. This seminar reviews and explains these options from a consumer/survivor perspective.



At the end of the lecture, participants should be able to:


-        Know the general pathogenesis and treatments of wasting syndrome

-        Know the different hypothesis of lipodystrophy syndrome

-        Know ways to identify theses syndromes

-        Know the potential treatments for wasting and lipodystrophy syndromes

-        Know how to identify and manage side effects

-        Know about how to detect and treat hormonal deficiencies in HIV disease

-        Know general nutritional and exercise consideration in HIV disease



A review of the main factors involved in wasting and the main hypothesis for lipodystrophy will be explained. A research update on wasting and lipodystrophy will be provided. Pictures of a wasted patient, and patients with truncal obesity, buffalo hump, increased vein size, and peripheral fat loss will be shown to clearly convey the syndromes. A review of the main side effects and their treatments as well as available appetite stimulants, testosterone replacement methods, oral and injectable anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, hypoglycemic agents, lipid and glucose lowering agents, nutritional considerations, nutritional supplements, and exercise (cardiovascular and progressive resistance training) will be provided. The special issues of HIV-positive women will also be addressed. The audience will be able to ask pertinent questions about all options presented. This is a colorful slide presentation with handouts of the slides provided to all attendees.


Contact: Nelson Vergel, Volunteer Executive Director of Program for Wellness Restoration, (PoWeR) and the Houston Body Positive Wellness Center.

Co-Author of Built To Survive: A comprehensive Guide to the Medical Use of
Anabolic Steroids, Nutrition and Exercise for HIV(+) Men and Women

Phone 713-539-1978. Email: site