Diet in AIDS

The nutritional status can significantly influence the course of the AIDS disease. HIV-infected people should be given dietary advice as early as possible so that body weight reduction does not occur as much as possible, according to the experts of the German Institute of Nutritional Medicine and Dietetics in Aachen (DIET).

Wasting syndrome

The end stage of AIDS is associated with so-called wasting syndrome characterized by weight loss of more than ten percent of baseline, diarrhea and / or fever. Because of the frequency of malnutrition in HIV-infected or AIDS patients, nutritional medicine measures are of central importance.

The often reduced food intake, caused by loss of appetite, vomiting, dysphagia, weakness, depression, drug side effects and oral infections leads to weight loss. For people with a weight loss of more than ten percent, targeted measures to stabilize the weight are indicated. If a sufficient supply of energy via an oral (over the mouth) diet is not possible, an artificial diet with special probe diets is indicated.

Nutrition recommendations for HIV-infected and AIDS patients

  • Prevent weight loss with adequate energy intake. Eat many small portions throughout the day. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, potatoes, whole grains, as well as milk and dairy products. Consume two to three times a week meat and preferably once or twice fish. If necessary, you can also support your energy and protein supply with industrially produced drinking foods.
  • For most people, there is an increased need for water-soluble vitamins, which can be compensated by commercially available vitamin supplements. Especially the administration of B-vitamins and ß-carotene, but also selenium and zinc have a positive effect on the course of the disease. A substitution performed under medical supervision makes sense in individual cases.
  • Avoid foods made from raw or semi-raw animal foods. This includes foods containing raw eggs (tiramisu, mousse au chocolat, homemade mayonnaise), raw milk products (raw milk cheese), uncooked meat such as tartare, carpaccio, raw sausage such as salami, tea sausage or raw ham, raw fish or seafood (sushi, oysters) and too short roasted meat. There is a risk of Salmonella and toxoplasmosis infection.
  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or peel them if necessary. Avoid prolonged warming of food.
  • In case of diarrhea, take care to compensate for water, vitamin and mineral losses. The more you drink, the better! Fruit juice spritzers, black tea, chamomile tea or fennel tea with a little salt should always be available. Do not eat raw fruits and vegetables in case of diarrhea and eat many small, easily digestible foods.
  • For chewing and swallowing complaints is a thick, mashed or soft food. When dry mouth peppermint tea promotes salivation.
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