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Lactose Intolerance
May 14, 2001

I was diagnosed positive this past winter and am currently taking Combivir and Viramune. For several years I have been taking a "weight gain" powder (added to 16 oz of milk once daily- for 600-800 calories). I did have PCP this past winter and lost weight while in the hospital. I have since gained most of the weight back but have had to drop the weight gain milkshakes because I was getting upset stomach, gas, flatulence, etc. I've always felt the milshakes were a good "insurance" in case I don't eat enough. But I'm perplexed as to why tolerance of milk has become an issue the past month. Any suggestions? Thanks.

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

Lactose intolerance can be a transient issue and may be an issue if you are "loading" with lactose. If there is gastrointestinal involvement (and in HIV disease, there often is), you may experience this effect with any large dose of lactose. You may want to mix your milk-containing supplements with other foods to get a more diluted effect. And, you may want to consider such beverages as "sipping" rather than "chugging" beverages. If the effect persists, you can try lactase enzymes or reduced lactose milk. Optimally you can keep dairy products in your diet by trying different strategies. If not, you can try some different substitutes for milk. If you turn to substitutes, make sure you have other sources of important calcium and vitamins D and A in your diet.

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