HIV, Cholesterol, and the Sex Talk with My Son

Deanne Stein Health Guide
  • My son starts high school this week. How did that happen? It seems like he just started Kindergarten yesterday! Time flies too fast, it's hard to catch up. I look at my daughter in her car seat and I want to freeze time, because I know I'll blink and she'll be all grown up, too. I am excited for my son to start high school but worried at the same time. I love watching him grow up, but when I look at him, I still see my little boy and I want to protect him from the big, mean world out there. I worry about peer pressure, drinking, drugs, sex, driving; all of the normal things parents probably worry about.  I know he's a good boy, but I don't want to take that for granted.  I know anytime I've ever assumed something was one way, it usually was the opposite. So, I talk, talk, talk until I'm blue in the face.  So much so that my son is constantly telling me "Mom, I know, I know, I know!" Okay, as long as we're in agreement, I'll let it go.

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    I feel fairly good about the whole drinking and drug talk. I know he understands the dangers of underage drinking and drug use. He is so into keeping his body healthy by exercising and eating right, so I think (hope) he will be smart about that. I worry more about girls. In the last year, he has suddenly realized that they exist, not as friends, but as potential girlfriends!  It was cute, though, watching him on vacation. Two teenage girls were staying with their parents in the condo next to ours in Florida.  He kept going on about how annoying they were, but by the end of the week, he had become close to one of them. They would talk for hours at night on our balconies that were right next to each other. He would meet her at the pool and hang out a little at the beach (when we weren't looking, of course). And, is it just me or do these young girls look a lot older these days? At 14, I still had my baby fat and was really dorky looking. I remember we all had braces and looked like a bunch of kids. I even have the pictures to prove it.  But young teens today look like they could be 18 or older. They dress older and wear makeup and they even seem taller? Maybe it's just me. Anyway, I hope he is smart about sex. I'm still getting used to having another baby in the house, I definitely don't want to be a grandma anytime soon. Or just as bad, see him get a sexually transmitted disease.

    Sexually transmitted diseases are so common, even HIV and AIDS. It seems like HIV and AIDS aren't in the news as much as they use to be, but they still exist.  As of 2006, in West Virginia alone, 754 people are living with AIDS and 665 West Virginians are living with HIV. And what's worse, a new report from the American Heart Association shows that many people with HIV were at risk of a heart attack by 70% to 80% more than those who do not have the disease. HIV is also associated with an increase in two of the most important risk factors for heart disease, low levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and elevated levels of triglycerides.

  • Researchers say that many patients infected with HIV have these cholesterol abnormalities which may be side effects from the antiretroviral medications, effects of the virus or both. Also they found there is a high prevalence of smoking among HIV-infected people, which could also be a factor. The antiretroviral therapy has drastically reduced the overall death rate among HIV patients. So, researchers say they don't want to diminish the importance of antiretroviral therapy, but instead make sure doctors are evaluating these patients for cardiovascular risk.

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    Related posts:

    HIV Therapy Linked to High Cholesterol: What You Should Know

    STD Prevention

    HIV/AIDS Information 

Published On: September 03, 2008