Carol Poore recommends lifestyle tips and sexual health advice for teenagers who are HIV/AIDS positive.
Several times a week at Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS we find a teenager that’s diagnosed as HIV-positive. This is not an uncommon occurrence at any given week and we know that that teenager is going to most likely live 20, 30, 40 years now with the advent and improvement of HIV/AIDS medications.
What does that mean for someone to live that long with a chronic disease? Well, it means that they will have to eat very healthily; they will have to make sure that they are adhering to their medication regimens and not skip a dose for the rest of their lives. They will need to exercise well, but the side effects of the medication include nausea, diarrhea, sometimes tingling of hands and feet called neuropathy.
So it’s not an easy road at this point in time as far as living with HIV and AIDS and that’s why Southwest Center is so active in wellness services and nutrition support and the kinds of support groups that help people feel encouraged and empowered to take care of themselves.
But people are not as much dying from HIV/AIDS anymore. It’s the other types of diseases such as heart disease or diabetes that can be complications of HIV and AIDS.
Teens who are HIV/AIDS positive must learn to acknowledge their status, confront their status and protect not only themselves, but protect others if they are going to have sex. That means using condoms, there are female condoms now; there are ways to discuss with a partner and to actually very openly disclose status.
These are difficult conversations. These aren’t conversations that come easy, but teens can learn to have these conversations in a very appropriate way by seeking help from their AIDS service organization where generally they can find tips and techniques of how to broach the topics, how to begin to have conversations with a partner if they find themselves at the brink of being sexually active as well as taking basic steps such as using condoms.
About Carol Poore:
Carol A. Poore is president and CEO of Phoenix-based Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, the oldest and largest nonprofit HIV/AIDS research, clinical trial and education resource center in the U.S. Southwest. As president and CEO of Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Poore leads clinical trial research operations, educators, and a community outreach team including more than 300 volunteers, leading strategy and partnership with the U.S. Southwest’s biomedical research and community-based healthcare organizations.