Hiv and Nutrition

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Few crises have affected human health and threatened social and economic development like HIV/AIDS. As infection rates continue to escalate around the world — particularly in countries with large rural populations and widespread small-scale agriculture — the pandemic is having a significant impact on food security and nutrition, creating a deadly cycle: HIV/AIDS typically strikes the household's most productive members first. When these people become ill, there is an immediate strain on the family's ability to work, feed themselves and provide care. As the disease progresses, it can become even harder for a family to cope, especially as resources are drained — for instance, valuable assets, such as livestock and tools, may need to be sold in order to pay for food and medical expenses — and poverty advances. Without food or income, some family members may migrate in search of work, increasing their chances of contracting HIV — and bringing it back home. For others, commercial sex may be their only option to feed and support their family. Food insecurity also leads to malnutrition, which can aggravate and accelerate the development of AIDS. Likewise, the disease itself can contribute to malnutrition by reducing appetite, interfering with nutrient absorption, and making additional demands on the body's nutritional status. Therefore nutrition plays a big part in enabling patients to properly take medication, manage side effects, and maintain adequate nourishment. Some of the nutritional issues include:-

1. Recommendations for light snacks are included, as are remedies for unpleasant tastes caused by some medications. 2. Weight gain is an issue for all AIDS patients on antiretroviral therapy. 3. Nutritionists advise that to manage increasing weight, patients should cut fat and calories, but not eliminate the good fats, such as monounsaturated fats and Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat. 4. Because AIDS-related illnesses can cause loss of lean body mass and wasting, people with AIDS need to consume more protein. It is also important to maintain calcium in the diet for bone health, blood clotting, nerve transmission, and regulating heartbeat. 5. Carbohydrates round out the healthy diet by lowering cholesterol, lowering glucose absorption, alleviating constipation, and facilitating movement through the bowel. 6. Aside from a well balanced diet, it is important to prepare food safely and to know the source of any drinking water. As we have seen, HIV and nutrition are intimately linked. HIV infection can lead to malnutrition, while poor diet can in turn speed the disease’s progress. As AIDS treatment becomes increasingly available in the poorest parts of the world, critical questions are emerging about how well the drugs work in people who are short of food. Uncertainty also surrounds the role of vitamins and other supplements. And for those already receiving treatment, side effects such as body fat changes are a daily concern. Understandably, HIV positive people and those who care for them are keenly interested in whatever might benefit their health. RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN HIV AND NUTRITION, AND WHAT THIS MEANS FOR TACKLING THE DISEASE. 1. Body changes

AIDS is well known for causing severe weight loss known as wasting. In Africa, the illness was at first called “slim” because sufferers became like skeletons. Yet body changes are not only seen during AIDS; less dramatic changes often occur in earlier stages of HIV infection. Whereas starving people tend to lose fat first, the weight lost during HIV infection tends to be in the form of lean tissue, such as muscle. This means there may be changes in the makeup of the body even if the overall weight stays the same. In children, HIV is frequently linked to growth failure. One large European study found that children with HIV were on average around 7 kg (15 lbs) lighter and 7.5 cm (3 inches) shorter than uninfected children at ten years old. What causes these...
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