June 1, 2015
AIDS Education Month
June is AIDS Education Month. More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS and 1 in 5 do not know their status. In Philadelphia, the HIV rate is 5 times the national average. Raising awareness of HIV/AIDS, spreading accurate information and making resources available are key to helping stop the spread of infection. At MANNA, we teach our clients living with HIV/AIDS how to effectively manage their condition and nutrition is a key component especially as the diseases changes or progresses. In these circumstances issues like weight loss, taste changes, nausea and mouth soreness need to be addressed. Proper nutrition addresses weight issues, immune system complications and individual dietary needs that can help provide a better quality of life.
Nutrition therapy for individuals living with HIV/AIDS should focus on a balanced diet. Eating a variety of healthy foods will replace essential vitamins and minerals that may be lost during the disease process, help maintain and strengthen immune function to fight the disease and help your body respond better to treatment. Here are some healthy eating tips if you’re living with HIV/AIDS:
- Include items from each of the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Choose low-fat dairy and lean proteins as much as possible.
- Eat enough calories to maintain a healthy weight
- Choose healthy fats like those found in olive oil, avocado, walnuts, tuna and salmon
- Limit saturated fats and trans fats which are found in processed foods, some red meat and full-fat dairy. Instead, opt for low-fat sources of dairy and lean protein such as low-fat milk, chicken, turkey and fish.
- Drink enough fluids. Choose healthy options like water, low-fat milk or occasionally 100% fruit juice instead of soda, energy drinks, or other sugary beverages
- Protein needs are slightly higher in individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Make sure you’re getting enough protein each day by choosing items like lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy and beans
- Try to engage in regular exercise. Physical activity can improve muscle mass, decrease weakness, improve mood and improve quality of life. Good options include walking, biking, yoga or joining an exercise class.
MANNA is committed to helping individuals living with HIV/AIDS get the proper nutrition they need to gain strength, build a better immune system and live a better quality of life.
AIDSEducationMonth.Org. What is Aids Education Month? Available at https://www.aidseducationmonth.org/about/. Accessed 28 May 2015.
EatRight.Org. Nutrition and HIV-AIDS. 1 Feb. 2014. Available at http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/hiv-aids/nutrition-and-hiv-aids. Accessed 28 May 2015.