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The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
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Introduction

About Nutrition and HIV

Nutrition plays an important role in helping the immune system of our bodies work well. The immune system is a natural part of our body that fights off germs, viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing organisms that we can come in contact with every day. When you are infected with HIV, your immune system is being damaged. Eating right can help it FIGHT BACK to the best of its ability. Eating right can also help your body stay stronger during any medical treatments that you may need to have.

And consider this: when we feed our bodies well, most of us feel better and have a more positive attitude about life. Eating tasty meals with people who care about you can be wonderful "medicine" for your emotional health. The primary purpose of this booklet is to help you get both comfort and strength from the food you eat. Eating right does make a difference!

There is no single "right" way to eat. Each of us is different in how we eat and what we like. This booklet will tell you what you need to know to make healthy choices. It will tell you what foods are good for you. You decide which of these foods you want to eat. You decide how to put them together into meals. You decide what time of day you eat them. Be bold. Be creative. Just do what's good for you.

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Please be aware of people or companies who promise you nutrition "cures" for AIDS. They may want to sell you special pills or have you follow unusual eating programs. There is no scientific basis for the claims they make. Don't let them take advantage of you. Ask you doctor or others at your clinic or hospital to get the truth about nutrition and HIV infection.


Drug and Food Reactions

At some point during your medical treatment you may have to take some medicines. The food we eat can effect how the medicines work. Also, the medicines we take can effect how our bodies use the food we eat.

There are new and different medicines for HIV and AIDS being tried every day. This book cannot tell you all that you need to know about food and drugs. It is important that you ask your doctor about each medicine you are taking to see if there are any foods you cannot eat with them. Compare that information with the advice in this book. If there are differences, talk to your doctor about them.

It is also important to know that many of the physical symptoms associated with HIV can be made better or made worse by the foods you eat. The right foods to eat for one problem may be exactly the wrong foods to eat for another. If you have more than one problem, it can be difficult to know what to eat. Always try to ask your doctor for advice on what is best for your condition.


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This article was provided by Tennessee Department of Health AIDS Support Services. It is a part of the publication Nutrition and HIV: Your Choices Make a Difference.
 


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