September #182 : Clarifying HIV Heart Disease Risk - by Laura Whitehorn

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Healing the Hurt

Hot on the Trail

From the Editor

The Not-So-Weaker Sex


Letters- September 2012


The Accidental Historian

What You Need to Know

Not So Sacred Bonds of Marriage

Mo Money, Mo Health

Easing the Pain of Adult Male Circumcision?

Fifty Shades of HIV?

Digital Disease Detector

We Hear You

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Take Good Care

What Matters to You

Clarifying HIV Heart Disease Risk

Overturning the Gay Blood Ban

Treatment News

Generic Drugs in the U.S.?

Is He or Isn’t He Cured? Real Answers to the Case of the Berlin Patient

More Safer Sex

Common Sense Rules the Court

GMHC Treatment Issues September 2012

Comfort Zone

Making Cents of Health Insurance

POZ Heroes

Midnight Cowboy

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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September 2012

Clarifying HIV Heart Disease Risk

by Laura Whitehorn

Recent reports suggest that compared with their negative peers, people who have HIV also have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD, including stroke, heart attack and clogged arteries). The stats alone could stop your heart: One study indicated that positive people are 20 percent more likely than the general population to suffer a stroke.

But the way the stats were reported makes them sound more dramatic than they are. That 20 percent relative risk is different from an individual’s actual, or absolute risk, which depends on each person’s combination of risk factors. (Click here to check yours.)

Still, people with HIV should take extra care of their heart and blood vessels. 

A few suggestions for starters:
  1. Take your HIV meds (in one study, women with fewer than 350 CD4 cells who were not on treatment were at highest risk for stroke). Which HIV drug combos work best for people with CVD risk? Search “hyperlipidemia” at to find out. Also, be sure to ask your doctor about drugs to control blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol, or any other CVD-related risk factor you might have inherited or acquired.
  2. Exercise moderately and regularly.
  3. Eat fresh fruits, veggies and whole grains; limit high-fat foods, especially red meat.
  4. Try to keep your body mass index (BMI, a measure of healthy weight; click here to calculate yours online) between 18.5 to 24.9, definitely not over 29.9; and strive for a waistline at or under 35.5 inches (men) or 33.5 inches (women).
  5. If you smoke, stop.

Search: heart disease, cardiovascular disease, CVD, stroke, AIDSMeds, hyperlipidemia

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