Malnutrition1 serious danger for people living with HIV/AIDS. Even at the early stages of HIV infection when no symptoms are apparent, HIV makes demands on the body's nutritional status. The risk of malnutrition increases significantly during the course of the infection.
Good nutrition cannot cure AIDS or prevent HIV infection, but it can help to maintain and improve the nutritional status of a person with HIV/AIDS and delay the progression from HIV to AIDS-related diseases. It can therefore improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. Nutritional care and support are important from the early stages of the infection to prevent the development of nutritional deficiencies. A healthy and balanced diet will help to maintain body weight and fitness. Eating well helps to maintain and improve the performance of the immune system - the body's protection against infection - and therefore helps a person to stay healthy.
Many of the conditions associated with HIV/AIDS affect food intake, digestion and absorption, while others influence the functions of the body. Many of the symptoms of these conditions (e.g. diarrhoea, weight loss, sore mouth and throat, nausea or vomiting) are manageable with appropriate nutrition. Good nutrition will complement and reinforce the effect of any medication taken.
The manual provides practical recommendations for a healthy and balanced diet for people living with HIV/AIDS in countries or areas with a low resource base. It aims at improving nutrition in a home-based setting. It is also applicable for people with HIV/AIDS in hospitals and other institutional settings, including hospices.
The food requirements of people with HIV/AIDS are described and recommendations given on foods and eating habits to meet these requirements. The manual also explains how to address the nutritional aspects of HIV-related conditions. Practical recipes using locally available foods are suggested as well as some simple home remedies for easing some of the problems people with HIV/AIDS may experience.
The manual consists of:
The summary sheets and leaflets are specifically for use by people who are living with HIV/AIDS or who are caring for a person living with HIV/AIDS, who want to be better informed.
The Annexes contain:
Entry points for raising nutritional issues and providing
care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS
1 Malnutrition in this publication refers to:
a) lack of food energy (undernutrition); and b) lack of micronutrients.