AIDS AND HIV INFECTION
CONSUME PLENTY OF
1. Meat, poultry, liver, eggs, milk, nuts, and other high-calorie, high-protein foods to prevent weight and muscle loss.
2. Pasta, rice, and other starchy foods, cooked vegetables, juices, and canned or stewed fruits for essential vitamins and minerals.
3. Small meals-snacks through the day.
· fatty foods and whole-grain products if they cause diarrhea.
· Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks that can cause diarrhea and reduce absorption of some nutrients.
· Raw or undercooked foods, especially shell-fish, eggs, and meats.
· Alcohol, which can worsen diarrhea and interact with AIDS medications.
There is still no cure for AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), nor is there a special diet for people infected with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes the disease. But good nutrition can prevent or delay weight loss and other complications.
KEEP UP YOUR FOOD INTAKE
AIDS is wasting disease, and death is often due to starvation rather than to other HIV complications. A patient should eat as much as possible and, unless markedly obese, not worry about gaining weight.
Unfortunately, maintaining good nutrition is complicated by the ways in which AIDS affects the digestive system. It reduces absorption of nutrients, especially folate, riboflavin thiamine, and vitamins B6 and B12; it often causes intractable diarrhea, which causes further nutritional loss; and it increases the risk of intestinal infections.
Anyone who is HIV-positive, or a person who prepares food for an AIDS patient, must pay special attention to food safety. Wash hands before handling, food, during its preparation and after. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Avoid contact between raw and cooked foods.
WASH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WELL
They are not as likely to cause problems as animal products, but they should be washed thoroughly. Many doctors advise following the same precautions as when traveling abroad; eat only cooked vegetables, and eat fruits that are peeled, stewed, or canned.
USE OF SUPPLEMENTS
Nutritionists often recommend that HIV- positive people take a multiple vitamin and mineral pill to prevent nutritional deficiencies; however, supplements with more than 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) should be used only if prescribed by a doctor.
AVOID HARMFUL DIETARY APPROACHES
Some self-help groups advocate taking high does of zinc and selenium to bolster the immune system. There is no proof that supplements of these nutrients protect against AIDS-related infections; in fact, studies show that taking 200 mg to 300 mg of zinc a day for 6 weeks actually lowers immunity. Excessive selenium can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Herbal medicine is a popular self-care approach, though there is no evidence for its efficacy. Caution is needs as some herbal preparations contain substances that can cause serious side effects or interact with medications. Check with a doctor before taking any herbal or other preparation or engaging in self-treatment or alternative medicine.