Special Correspondent

Proper nutrition essential for HIV-affected persons

  • Intervention could promote response to treatment
  • Physical activity for patients improves functional capacity

    VISAKHAPATNAM: More than a quarter century after HIV was identified, the nutritional aspect of HIV/AIDS has been ignored for a long time.

    Expressing concern over this, consultant dietician and founder of Diabetes Foundation, Anuradha Reddy, told a gathering of HIV positive patients at regional training centre here on Thursday that attention was always focused on medication. Healthy diet would retard the growth of the disease in HIV positive patients. Developing countries like ours are home to about 95 per cent of people with HIV/AIDS who do not have healthcare resources to fight the disease. So the best way for them to respond to the illness is to maintain as balanced a diet as possible. Nutrition plays a critical role in comprehensive care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS.

    Nutritional intervention could help manage symptoms, promote response to medical treatment, bring down the pace of progression of the disease and increase the quality of life by improving daily functioning.

    In all cases, adequate hydration, increased energy rich food for weight gain, protein is needed to rebuild muscle tissue are necessary to fight the infection, she observed.

    Decreased immunity

    Vitamins and minerals played an essential role in maintaining proper functioning of the immune system. Proper nutrition must begin immediately to support nutritional deficiencies that occur early in the disease.

    These nutritional deficiencies contribute to decreased immunity and disease progression. But proper diet body mass, body composition, bone density, strength, functional capacity, quality of life and appetite, Ms. Reddy said.