nutrition
in hiv/aids patients

Good nutrition is important for immunocompromised patients (those with a weakened immune system), including those with HIV/AIDS. You want to focus on foods that have a lot of nutrients. If you don’t feel much like eating, make sure the foods you do eat are smart choices.

Tips for Patients With HIV/AIDS1-3

You’ll want to eat foods that are easy to digest and that are less likely to upset your stomach, such as plain crackers, rice, and toast. Consume foods and drinks at room temperature or cool. If you feel the urge to vomit, try slow, deep breathing. It may help if you can distract yourself by reading, watching television, or doing a relaxing hobby.

Plan ahead and stock up on healthful foods so you’ll have nutritious options on hand when you’re feeling hungry.

  • Make sure you have healthful snacks readily available.
  • Stick to nutritious food choices rather than those that are full of fat and sugar.
  • Stay away from cooking foods with strong smells.
  • Take advantage of the nutritional supplement drinks and energy bars that are available.
  • Mashing or liquefying food may make it easier to swallow. Foods with an inherently softer consistency, such as applesauce or pudding, are easy to swallow. Creamed sauces and gravies can moisten food and make it easier to swallow.
  • Cool or cold foods can help dull the pain from mouth and throat sores. A popsicle might even numb your mouth prior to eating a larger meal.
  • The cooler temperatures also reduce the aroma of unappetizing food.
  • Make milk “double strength”—blend one cup of nonfat dry milk powder with one quart of whole milk. Refrigerate and use for puddings, shakes, soups, and on cereal.
  • Create an appetizing atmosphere for meals, with a comfortable chair and attractive table setting. Dine with others. Play music in the background.
  • Light exercise, if approved by your doctor, might stimulate your appetite.
  • Ask your doctor about talking to a registered dietitian for additional recommendations.