World AIDS Day 2020, Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Resilience and Impact
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Good nutrition is important to all people—whether or not they are living with HIV. But some conditions related to treating HIV or AIDS (including wasting, diarrhea, and lipid abnormalities) mean that proper nutrition is really important to people with HIV. Eating well is key to maintaining strength, energy, and a healthy immune system. In addition, because HIV can lead to immune suppression, food safety and proper hygiene are concerns when it comes to preventing infections.
For more information, see the Department of Veterans Affairs’ HIV/AIDS: Diet and Nutrition
A healthy diet is essential to maintaining good health across your lifespan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines a healthy diet as one that: provides enough of each essential nutrient; contains a variety of foods from all of the basic food groups; provides adequate energy to maintain a healthy weight; and does not contain excess fat, sugar, salt, or alcohol. There are six essential nutrients:
For more information about healthy eating, see FDA’s Smart Nutrition 101: FAQs.
Before you make major changes in your diet, however, contact your primary care provider, or a registered dietician who specializes in HIV care, to get a better assessment of your nutritional needs.
Because HIV affects your immune system, you may be at greater risk for food-borne illness. So in addition to eating well, you need to eat safely. By following a few basic safety rules when you prepare and eat your meals, you can protect yourself from food-related illness: