AIDS InfoNet www.aidsinfonet.org
Fact Sheet Number 800
Good nutrition means getting enough
Macronutrients contain calories (energy):
proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. They
help you maintain your body weight.
include vitamins and
minerals. They keep your cells working
properly, but will not prevent weight loss.
Good nutrition can be a problem for many
people with HIV. When your body fights
any infection, it uses more energy and
you need to eat more than normal. But
when you feel sick, you eat less than
Some medications can upset your
infections can affect the mouth or throat.
This makes it difficult to eat. Also, some
diarrhea. If you have diarrhea, your body
actually uses less of what you eat.
When you lose weight, you might be
losing fat, or you might be losing lean
body weight like muscle. If you lose too
much lean weight, your body chemistry
changes. This condition is called wasting
syndrome or cachexia. Wasting can kill
you. If you lose more than 5% of your
body weight, it could be a sign of wasting.
Talk to your doctor.
NUTRITION GUIDELINES FOR
PEOPLE WITH HIV
First, eat more. Extra muscle weight will
help you fight HIV. This is very important.
Many people want to lose weight, but for
people with HIV, it can be dangerous.
Make sure you eat plenty of protein and
starches, with moderate amounts of fat.
• Protein helps build and maintain your
muscles. Meats, fish, beans, nuts,
and seeds are good sources.
• Carbohydrates give you energy.
Complex carbohydrates come from
grains, cereals, vegetables, and
fruits. They are a “time release”
energy source and are a good source
fiber and nutrients.
carbohydrates, or sugars, give you
quick energy. You can get sugars in
fresh or dried fruit, honey, jam, or
• Fat giv