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The process whereby nutrients pass into the bloodstream for use by the body


Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. A group of diseases caused by HIV


Anti-retroviral - the name given to a group of drugs that act on the HIV virus and prevent it from reproducing itself in the body


The name of a fungus that causes oral thrush - a common infection of the mouth in people with AIDS


A condition when the bowels do not function properly and a person has difficulty in passing stools (defecating). This may be caused by a diet low in fibre, a symptom of illness or a side-effect of medicines


HIV/AIDS counselling is a dialogue between a client and a care provider aimed at enabling the client to cope with stress and take personal decisions relating to HIV/AIDS. The counselling process includes the evaluation of personal risk of HIV transmission and the facilitation of preventive behaviour


The excessive unhealthy loss of water and salts from the body, often during diarrhoea


The frequent passing of watery faeces (stools) - at least three in a day


The process in the stomach and intestine in which food is broken down and nutrients released

Food security

A situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life

Healthy and balanced diet

Consumption of an adequate amount and variety of foods including, as appropriate, staples, legumes, animal products, fruit, vegetables, nuts, fat and oils, and sugar/sugar-containing foods, sufficient to meet one's energy and nutrient needs


Human immunodeficiency virus - the cause of AIDS

Immune system

All the mechanisms that act to defend the body against external agents, particularly microbes (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites


An abnormal physiological condition caused by deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in energy, protein and/or other nutrients. Malnutrition in this publication refers to: a) lack of food energy (undernutrition); and b) lack of nutrients


The vitamins, minerals and certain other substances that are required by the body in small amounts. They are measured in milligrams or micrograms


Feeling unwell and sick in the stomach


Nourishing substance contained in foods that is released during digestion


The science of food and how it is used by our bodies to grow, work, play, maintain health and resist disease

Nutrition education

Education directed at individuals, families and communities in order to encourage informed decision-making in the selection of foods to grow, purchase and consume in order to achieve optimal health

Opportunistic infection

An infection with a micro-organism that does not ordinarily cause disease, but that becomes pathogenic in a person whose immune system is impaired, as by HIV infection

Oral rehydration solution (ORS)

A liquid that can be given to people to restore the fluid that they have lost through diarrhoea. ORS can be made from packets, by mixing salt, sugar and water or by making a watery porridge from powdered cereals such as rice and maize

Palliative drugs

Medicines that relieve the symptoms of HIV and help a person feel better but do not treat the actual HIV infection

People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA)

A general term for all people infected with HIV, whether or not they are showing any symptoms of infection

Positive living

An approach to life whereby people with HIV/AIDS maintain a positive attitude towards themselves, take action to improve their situation, continue to work and lead a normal life and approach the future positively with hope and determination and not with despair, depression, guilt and self pity

Refined cereals

Foods containing cereals such as wheat, rice or maize that have been processed to remove all or part of the husks. Refined foods are low in fibre

Staple foods

Foods that form the main part of the diet, usually cereals such as maize, rice, wheat and millet or root crops, such as yams, cassava and potatoes


Infectious agent (microbe) responsible for numerous diseases in all living beings. It is an extremely small particle and, in contrast with bacteria, can only survive and multiply within a living cell at the expense of that cell


A group of naturally occurring substances that are the micronutrients needed in small amounts by the body to maintain health

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