Best Food for HIV/AIDS Patients

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Food for HIV patients – this food diet will help strengthen your immune system and reduce symptoms.

AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). By damaging your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to fight the organisms that cause the disease.

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. It can also be spread by contact with infected blood or from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. It can take years before HIV weakens your immune system to the point that you have AIDS. HIV can be transmitted in many ways such as vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles.

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Both the virus and syndrome are often referred together as HIV/AIDS. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. As a result, some will then develop AIDS. The development of numerous opportunistic infections in an AIDS patient can ultimately lead to death.

HIV infection causes AIDS to develop. However, it is possible to be infected with HIV without developing AIDS. Without treatment, the HIV infection is allowed to progress and eventually it will develop into AIDS in the vast majority of cases. HIV testing can identify infection in the early stages. This allows the patient to use preventive drugs which will slow the rate at which the virus replicates, delaying the onset of AIDS. AIDS patient still have the HIV virus and are still infectious. Someone with AIDS can pass HIV to someone else.

There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but there are dietary choices, medications, and lifestyles that can dramatically slow disease progression.

Food for HIV patients

Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

The symptoms of HIV and AIDS vary, depending on the phase of infection.

Primary infection: majority of people infected by HIV develop a flu-like illness within a month or two after the virus enters the body. This illness may last for a few weeks. Possible signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth or genital ulcers
  • Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
  • Joint pain
  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhea

Although the symptoms of primary HIV infection may be mild enough to go unnoticed, the amount of virus in the bloodstream (viral load) is particularly high at this time. As a result, HIV infection spreads more efficiently during primary infection than during the next stage of infection.

Clinical latent infection: in some people, persistent swellings of lymph nodes occur during clinical latent HIV. Otherwise, there are no specific signs and symptoms. HIV remains in the body, however, and in infected white blood cells. Clinical latent infection typically lasts for eight to ten years. A few people stay in this stage even longer, but others progress to more severe disease much sooner.

Early symptomatic HIV infection: as the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may develop mild infections or chronic signs and symptoms such as

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph nodes – often one of the first signs of HIV infection
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Progression to AIDS: if you receive no treatment for your HIV infection, the disease typically progresses to AIDS in about ten years. By the time AIDS develops, your immune system has been severely damaged, making you susceptible to opportunistic infections – diseases that wouldn’t trouble a person with a healthy immune system. The signs and symptoms of some of these infections may include

  • Soaking night sweats
  • Shaking chills or fever higher than 100 F (38C) for several weeks
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Persistent white spots or unusual lesions on your tongue or in your mouth
  • Headaches
  • Persistent, unexplained fatigue
  • Blurred and distorted vision
  • Weight loss
  • Skin rashes or bumps

Food for HIV patients

Causes of HIV/AIDS

Scientists believe a virus similar to HIV virus first occurred in some populations of chimps and monkeys in Africa, where they are hunted for food. Contact with an infected monkey’s blood during butchering or cooking may have allowed the virus to cross into humans and become HIV.

HIV is a retrovirus that infects the vital organs of the immune system. The virus progresses in the absence of antiretroviral therapy. The rate of virus progression varies widely between individuals and depends on many factors which include

  • Age of the patient
  • Body’s ability to defend against HIV
  • Access to health care
  • Existence of co-existing infections
  • The infected person’s genetic inheritance
  • Resistance to certain strains of HIV

HIV destroys CD4 cells – a specific type of white blood cell that plays a large role in helping your body fight diseases. Your immune system weakens as more CD4 cells are killed. You can have an HIV infection for years before it progresses to AIDS. People infected with HIV progress to AIDS when their CD4 count falls below 200 or they experience an AIDS-defining complications such as

  • Pneumocystic pneumonia
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Toxoptasmosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis

To become infected with HIV, infected blood, semen, or vaginal secretions must enter your body. You can’t become infected through ordinary contact – hugging, kissing, dancing, or shaking hands with someone who has HIV or AIDS. HIV can’t be transmitted through the air, water, or insect bites. You can become infected with HIV in several ways, including

  • By having sex (through vaginal, anal, or oral sex) with an infected partner whose blood, semen, or vaginal secretions enter your body.
  • From blood transfusions
  • By sharing needles and syringes contaminated with infected blood
  • During pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding

Food for HIV patients

Risk factors

When HIV/AIDS first surfaced in the United States, it mainly affected men who had sex with their fellow men. However, it is now clear that HIV is also spread through heterosexual sex. Anyone of any age, race, sex, or sexual orientation can be infected, but you are at greatest risk of HIV/AIDS if you

  • Have unprotected sex
  • Have another STI: many STIs produce open sores on your genitals. These sores act as doorways for HIV to enter your body.
  • Are an uncircumcised man: studies have shown that lack of circumcision increases the risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV.

Food for HIV patients

What to eat when you have HIV

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They help to protect the immune system. At each meal, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Eat a lot of different fruits and vegetables to get the most vitamins and minerals.
  • Go for lean protein like lean beef, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts. They help to build the muscle and strong immune system.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, at least 10 cups of water or other healthy drinks each day. Liquids help to transport nutrients and flush out used medications from your body.
  • Choose whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread; they are packed with energy-boosting B vitamins and fibre.
  • Have healthy fats in moderation like nuts, avocados, and vegetable oil to help gain energy, but limit how much you eat if you are not trying to gain weight because they are also high in calories.
  • Limit your salt and sugar intake. Whether because of the virus or the treatment drugs you are taking, HIV raises your risk of getting heart disease.
  • Eat the right amount of calories
  • Follow food-safety rules, because HIV lowers your body defenses against germs, even a mild case of food poisoning can lead to a serious infection or illness.

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Good habits you should practice

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after eating, and also after using the toilet. Also, wash your cooking utensils before and after use.
  • Rinse all fresh fruits and vegetables with clean water
  • Thaw frozen meats and food in the fridge or microwave
  • Avoid raw eggs
  • Cook all meat, sea foods, and poultry until they are well done
  • In case you are travelling and you are not sure of the water if it’s okay for drinking, stick to bottled water and avoid ice or unpasteurized drinks
  • Completely reheat leftovers before you eat them
  • Check expiration dates and throw away any food you think is old and not good for consumption.

While this food for HIV patients helps keep you healthy, it does not stop the need for you to see your doctor.

Food for HIV patients

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