Nutrition in the Context of HIV/AIDS
Nutrition for People Living with HIV/AIDS
Home-based Nutritional Care and Support for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)
Effective nutritional care and support can improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS by:
- Maintaining body weight and strength.
- Replacing lost vitamins and minerals.
- Improving the function of the immune system and the body's ability to fight infection.
- Extending the period from infection to the development of the AIDS disease.
- Improving response to treatment; reducing time and money spent on health care.
- Keeping HIV-infected people active, allowing them to take care of themselves, their family and children.
People living with HIV/AIDS should make sure they have a good source of the essential minerals - selenium, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine - and vitamins - vitamins A, C, E and B. These micronutrients help to boost the immune system.
Healthy nutrition is best achieved through consumption of a balanced diet. It is vital for adequate health and for the survival of all individuals regardless of HIV status. Principles of a healthy nutrition can be summarized as following:
- Eat a variety of different foods.
- Eat carbohydrate-rich staples with every meal.
- Eat protein-rich legumes every day.
- Eat mineral and vitamin-rich vegetables and/or fruits every day.
- Use fats and sugars.
- Eat protein-rich animal and milk products regularly.
- Eat the right amount of food to get a healthy weight and exercise regularly.
- Drink plenty of safe and clean water.
For people living with HIV/AIDS it is important to maintain or gain weight by:
- Eating at least three main meals plus snacks between meals
- Having main meals that include foods from each group (staples, vegetables and/or fruits, plant and/or animal protein, fats and fibre)
- Eating snacks regularly between meals like nuts, seeds, fruit, yoghurt, carrots, etc.
It is important to protect the quality and safety of the food due to increased vulnerability to and slow recovery from common infections.
11 April, 2013