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HIV and proper diet
Feb 27, 2006

I am newly diagnosed with HIV. Is there any food, I shouldnt be eating? For example, sweets, caffine, alcohol. I was told my protein levels are high, should I try to reduce them? How do I go about doing this? I was told to take sustiva on a empty stomach? What exactly does this mean? Maybe 2 - 3 hours after eating? Sorry to combine 2 questions into 1 email, but I am really nervous right now.

Response from Dr. Pierone

The effect of diet on HIV is a difficult topic because of the lack of scientific studies, especially in the post-HAART era. Before effective therapy became available it was very common to see muscle wasting and weight loss in persons living with AIDS. As a result we went to great lengths to educate about proper nutrition to maintain lean body mass.

It seems that nowadays I spend more time counseling overweight HIV-infected patients about strategies to lose weight and keep it off.

So the answer to your question is there is no specific food that you should not be eating. In fact, the same dietary and healthful living principles apply to everyone, HIV-infected or not. The watchword is moderation. Alcohol, sweets, and alcohol are all ok in moderation.

An elevated blood protein in the context of HIV infection is generally not related to dietary excess of protein. Instead it usually reflects elevated gammaglobulin levels in the bloodstream related to problems with regulation of antibody production.

Taking Sustiva on an empty stomach is not mandatory, but blood levels (and side effects) tend to be higher when it is taken with food. An empty stomach is traditionally considered more than 2 hours after a meal. But with lighter (lower fat) foods the stomach may be empty within an hour.

Thanks for posting and best of luck to you!



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