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HIV patients: Learn about treatments for lipodystrophy at event at The Center

SAN DIEGO – Lipodystrophy is one of the common symptoms associated with people who are living with HIV or AIDS.

The syndrome, often triggered by medicines that are keeping the patients alive, redistributes the fat on places on the body such as the face, abdomen and buttocks. This can lead to a sunken cheeks, for example, or fat pads on the back of the neck and shoulders, and a big gut.

Lipodystrophy and treatment options will be discussed at a presentation titled “Looking Fabulous Every Day” scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at The Center in Hillcrest. Refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 7 p.m.

Jason Wimberly, founder of the Wimberly Worldwide fashion and beauty consulting firm here in San Diego, will be sharing his experiences and long history as a spokesperson for Clinic’estetica of Tijuana.

Clinic’estetica founder Anna Love and medical director Dr. Palmira Morales will lead the presentation, talking about treatments for lipodystrophy as well as anti-aging cosmeceuticals.

Byron Neese, author of “Behind the Mask, No More” and a Broadway actor, will share his story of going to the brink and making his way back.

Wimberly answered a few questions about the presentation:

SDGLN: Several friends have lipoatrophy issues in the face and other parts of their body. The facial wasting shatters their self-esteem. What will the audience learn from this presentation?

Jason: “You hit the nail on the head. It is extremely important to recognize the mind-body connection for those who suffer with lipoatrophy. When a patient looks in the mirror and sees a skeleton of who they once were, it can literally destroy their self-esteem and sense of self.

“It is impossible to stay healthy and positive without a strong sense of self. I have worked in health or fitness for years, and I always tell a story of when I was a little kid to reference my first experience with the mind-body connection. On occasion when I was younger I would pretend to be sick to get out of school. Lying in bed, pretend coughing and wheezing so I could enjoy a day at home by myself. Wouldn't you know, every single time I was pretended to be sick to avoid school, I actually got sick.

“Now imagine you become ill with a disease that ravages your physical appearance, and when you look in the mirror, you don't even recognize who is looking back at you. How in the world are you going to stay positive and healthy?

“That is why we are bringing these presentations to LGBT centers throughout California. At Clinic'estetica, we have pioneered a permanent, safe, and easy way to restore what patients may have lost. We simply want to show others how we can help them be themselves.”

SDGLN: What inspired you to get involved in this health-care issue?

Jason: “I am fortunate enough to be an extremely healthy young gay man. I wish I could say that for all my family and friends. HIV and AIDS touches all of us, whether you are positive or not. I wanted to do what I can to help those who need it.”

SDGLN: How costly is this procedure, and how many treatments does it take to make a difference in lives?

Jason: “Of course each person has different needs and so it is impossible to discuss pricing. I will say, however, that it is far more cost-efficient than nearly all temporary treatments currently available, and it is permanent!

“There is no need for constant, costly follow up. You will notice a difference after your first treatment, and again, each patient’s needs are individual. Some may only require two treatments, some may require many more.

“The downtime is nominal, and swelling and slight bruising is usually the largest concern within only the first four days.”

SDGLN: Is it covered by insurance if the clinic is in Tijuana?

Jason: “Unfortunately it is not covered by insurance, but this has nothing to do with the clinic being in Tijuana. As with most procedures in the world of aesthetic medicine, it is still considered an elective procedure.”

SDGLN: Are there safety issues?

Jason: “No. The main substance used in our product, PMMA or polymethylmethacrylate, has safely been used in the body since the early 1930s. It can be used to replace everything from bone to soft tissue.

“Clinic'estetica has polymerized PMMA and introduces the product, in varying viscosities, in a safe hydrogel that requires no additional skin tests or screenings before treatment. Aside from initial swelling and or bruising, the procedure itself is rather quick and has very little downtime.”

SDGLN: Is this an educational and informational event, or more of a soft sell for Clinic'estetica?

Jason: “Well, to be completely honest, it is a little of both. Of course we aim to educate and inform our audience, but as Clinic'estetica has created an original product that you can only get there ... we also aim to increase our client base.

“This is a business where it's not exactly something a patient always wants to talk about publicly. So, we thought.... why not create an informative event where we can talk for you, and be there to answer any questions or concerns. One of our biggest struggles in our business has been, we do such good work, our patients do not have to come back again and again. They are so pleased with the result after their treatments, they simply don’t need to.”