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TREATMENT NEWS

BY LAURA WHITEHORN

Useful info on heart health

Clarifying HIV Heart Disease Risk 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. (You can check yours at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/atpiii/calculator.asp.) Still, people with HIV should take extra care of their heart and blood vessels. A few suggestions for starters:

Antiretroviral HIV meds cost as much as $25,000 a year in the United States, but only hundreds of dollars in the developing world. Why? Generic versions of some HIV drugs are available internationally via the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other global health progams. With more than 750,000 Americans with HIV not getting treatment and given that part of the reason is cost, we need to make drugs affordable for the 30 percent of HIV-positive Americans who have no insurance. Waiting lists remain for AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs); federally subsidized government funding for AIDS is under attack; and more and more states are cutting back on Medicaid. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has proposed one solution. In May, Sanders submitted a bill to Congress to create a $3 billion prize fund for developers of new HIV meds. The money would be given in exchange for allowing a new drug to go generic right away, replacing the patents that currently keep prices high. At press time, the bill—the Prize Fund for HIV/AIDS Act— remained in committee.

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 AIDSmeds.com 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; calculate yours online at nhlbisupport.com/bmi) 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.

24 POZ SEPTEMBER 2012 poz.com

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

(ILLUSTRATION) GETTY IMAGES; (SANDERS) GETTY IMAGES/ISSOUF SANOGO

Generic Drugs in the U.S.?

POZ September 2012  

POZ is the nation’s leading magazine about HIV/AIDS. Serving the community of people living with and those affected by HIV/AIDS since 1994.

POZ September 2012  

POZ is the nation’s leading magazine about HIV/AIDS. Serving the community of people living with and those affected by HIV/AIDS since 1994.

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