Poor nutritional status can lower immune function, which means people with HIV/AIDS can develop opportunistic infections more easily. These can then lead to problems eating and meeting nutritional requirements, thus creating a cyclical decline in health. Drug treatment, known as HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy), can also make it difficult to meet nutritional needs.
If you have HIV/AIDS, consider these nutrition tips:
- Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to ensure adequate vitamin/mineral intake. Fruits and vegetables also provide fiber.
- Depending on your diet, you may need a multivitamin.
- As long as your doctor says it’s safe, exercise can be beneficial for people with HIV/AIDS. It may lead to improvements in strength, endurance, cardiopulmonary fitness and reductions in depression.
- Eat a diet that is balanced in carbohydrate, protein, and healthy fats.
- Be especially careful with food safety, as you do not want to introduce harmful bacteria to your body. Do not keep foods out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Wash hands before eating.
- Avoid cross contamination – do not use the same knives/cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables.
- Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.