Healthy Living with HIV

Healthy Living with HIV
Can HIV affect my diet and nutrition?

People with HIV sometimes face issues that can affect their nutrition:

  • Changes in your body’s metabolism.
  • Medicines that can upset your stomach.
  • Opportunistic infections that can cause issues with eating and swallowing.
  • Foods that can affect HIV treatment (like raw meats and fish).

Any of these problems can affect your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients needed to stay in good health.

How can I maintain a healthy lifestyle?

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Eat Healthy

Healthy eating is good for your overall health. Following a healthy diet offers several benefits:

  • Provides the energy and nutrients your body needs to fight HIV and other infections.
  • Maintains a healthy weight.
  • Manages HIV symptoms and complications.
  • Improves absorption of medicines and helps manage potential side effects.

Talk to your health care provider about your diet. You can ask questions about what steps you should take to maintain good nutrition. Your health care provider may refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian. They can help you with your nutrition needs.

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Exercise Regularly

Exercise can help you maintain good physical and mental health. Regular exercise offers many benefits:

  • Increases your strength, endurance, and fitness.
  • Reduces the risk of depression.
  • Helps your immune system work better to fight infections.

People with HIV can do the same types of exercise as people who do not have HIV. Find a fitness routine that you enjoy. Make exercise fun and commit to exercising.

How does smoking affect my health?

icon of a smoking cigarette

Smoking has many negative health effects. People with HIV who smoke are more likely than people with HIV who don’t smoke to

  • Develop lung cancer, head and neck cancers, cervical and anal cancers, and other cancers.
  • Develop bacterial pneumonia, Pneumocystis jiroveciipneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease.
  • Develop conditions that affect the mouth, such as oral candidiasis (thrush) and oral hairy leukoplakia.
  • Have a poorer response to HIV treatment.
  • Develop a life-threating illness that leads to an AIDS diagnosis.
  • Have a shorter lifespan.

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