I'm HIV Positive, and All This Gas Is Killing Me! (Editor's Pick)

Question

I'm another of the many long-term HIV+ survivors whose quality of life is zilch because of gas. The condition has become so persistent and sustained that I don't go out anywhere anymore and never have people over. I wait until after midnight to shop for groceries and even then I only shop about every three to four weeks. My doctor seems at times distracted and deluged, and obviously farting is way down the list of HIV-related maladies. He has suggested the possibility of a food allergy but I've never been allergic to anything before and am a vegetarian. And why would so many of us with HIV suddenly be coming down with "food allergies?" I am lonely, isolated, depressed, and sometimes worse. This situation is untenable and unless it can be halted completely I can no longer think of a reason to live. I am aware that stumbling across which of the billions of substances one comes in contact with during the process of living takes months, even years. It is a long, arduous, often discouraging search, but giving it a try seems, at this point, superior to my alternate plans. Can you please recommend to me what sort of specialist I must seek out for this sort of testing? Does one look for a lab that conducts allergy tests? I know little about this process and dread the monotony and disappointments it will inevitably entail. Nonetheless, I would appreciate if you could direct me to the proper venues so I can at least feel for awhile that there is hope of getting this taken care of. Thank you.

Answer

Hello and thanks for posting.

Sorry about your maladies. Flatulence (excess gas) occurs in people living with HIV- though far less than in the earlier days of treatments. It's sometimes the fault of medications though perhaps more commonly the fault of food intolerance or allergies.

I agree with your doctor. Food allergies could be the cause of your symptoms. I can't tell you why these allergies emerge, but simply say that they do- in both poz and negative people. I've successfully referred patients to allergy specialists (allergy/immunology) for evaluation of food and environmental allergies. This process often identifies foods that cause mild to moderate gas or diarrhea, and elimination of the offending food type usually eliminates the issue. The process isn't long or arduous.

Stay in touch, and I hope that this helps, BY