In HIV and other illnesses as well, nothing can take the place of eating properly. Candy bars and vitamin pills are not meal replacements even when they are packaged together. Despite the cutbacks to HIV/AIDS meal programs, it is still possible to put together a weekly schedule that will help you meet your increased nutrient requirements even when you are too tired or sick to cook for yourself, or don't have the facilities. HIV meal programs are emphasized rather than any congregate or delivered meal program for several reasons. (1) Eating is a complex interaction between the need for getting nutrients and being around other people who share your concerns and understand the complexity of day-to-day living with the virus. (2) HIV meal programs know the importance of providing the most nutrient-dense meal that they can. (3) Near-perfect levels of food sanitation are necessary when you have a compromised immune system so that you don't get food poisoning, and HIV meal programs are equal to the task. (4) The staff and participants at HIV meal programs always have the most up-to-date information about the virus, which is shared in a friendly atmosphere. (5) You can be yourself! There isn't much that you may want to talk about that the community at these meal programs has not felt, seen or experienced. The outside world may be incapable of understanding the stress of your daily struggle, but at these programs you are at home and an important contributor to the struggle to conquer HIV. Go eat!
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