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Eat Certain Foods??
Jan 22, 2002

My boyfriend is hiv positive and I just wanted to know if there are certain types of food that he should not eat now??? thanks in advance

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

A "healthy" diet that allows him to keep a good stable weight and body composition is in order. Priorities for nutrients are as follows: 1. adequate fluids (we aren't talking about coffee and alcohol here); 2. adequate calories to maintain a healthy weight and body composition; 3. adequate protein to support protein tissues in the body (muscle, organs, and even the immune system); and 4. adequate vitamins and minerals or other micronutrients. As for particular foods, the only recommendation beyond a "healthy diet" might be an emphasis on fruits and vegetables that contain both nutrient-based and non-nutrient antioxidants. But, this recommendation does not carry through in every situation (an exception might be during chemotherapy treatments for cancers).

The highest concern is for food safety, especially if he is quite immunosuppressed. The guidelines for this are the same ones given to everyone: use good food handling and storage practices. You can find food safety recommendations through the CDC partner online at Raw meats and fish are also on the list of "not recommended" for people with HIV infection.

Other than food safety issues, there is no real "HIV diet" recommendation that covers all (or even most) people with HIV infection. Other foods to emphasize or avoid are really based on each person's particular situation. For instance, if he has high blood fats, foods high in fat may be on the "avoid" side of the list. If insulin resistance and/or diabetes are an issue, it is a good idea to take a look at the types and amounts of food consumed. If weight is an issue, amounts of calories can be evaluated.

It is good, in any case, to keep up on weight, body composition, and any lab changes that may warrant diet changes. For that you can look to the physician, nurse, and dietitian on the healthcare team.

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