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Eating Defensively -- Protecting Yourself From Food-Related Illnesses

By Ellen Steinberg, M.S., R.D., L.D.

January/February 2005

Because foodborne pathogens take advantage of the impaired immune system, people with HIV/AIDS are more susceptible to food-related illnesses than otherwise healthy individuals. If a person with HIV/AIDS acquires a foodborne disease, the illness can be difficult to treat, putting the person at risk for persistent and generalized infections. In fact, acquiring a foodborne illness can hasten the progression of HIV and even be fatal for a person with AIDS. Therefore, everyone with HIV/AIDS should be aware of and practice food safety recommendations.

The enemy: Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes are just a few of the "bad bugs" known to cause food-related illnesses. The defense: You! Foodborne diseases are often avoidable and safe food-handling behavior is the key to their prevention. Here are some basic food safety recommendations to help you protect yourself from food-related illnesses.

The new year is a perfect time to adopt behaviors that help keep you healthy. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of rest and remember these food safety tips. For more information about food safety or any other nutrition issue, call AIDS Treatment Initiatives (ATI) at (404) 659-2437. I wish everyone a happy and healthy year. Remember to eat your fruits and vegetables, but don't forget to wash them well!




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