Malnutrition and HIV

For people with HIV the diet fad to be thin is the opposite of what a HIV patient should seek. For a person to be thin that has HIV there is going to be a quicker death. Sad to say but true. And nutrition is the key to keeping the person with aids/HIV healthier and around longer.

There is a direct relationship between the cycle of malnutrition, HIV, and the immune system that is in a state of dysfunction. Since the immune system is damaged by the HIV infection, the other infections that can result wreak even more havoc on the body.

Self Reinforcing Cycle

The person suffering with this disease then ends up faced with a dulled appetite and less ability to absorb what food they do eat. As you can understand from this already, HIV aids has a terribly defastating outcome on a persons nutritional state and well being. Consequently malnourished, weakened and still losing weight the patient slips away even more.

But by providing some balanced nutrition that encourages and revs up the immune system the body can more hardily rage its own war on the disease. The body is much more able to support itself with proper weight and concentrated powerful nutrition.

This is very important due to the fact that a person with HIV has less ability to absorb nutrition, less food is able to flow through as a nutrient into the intestinal wall and pass into the blood stream to provide ample nutrition to the tissues and organs and various body parts. This is because the infection has damaged the wall of the gut so badly that food wont pass properly into the bloodstream as it once did.


Another common problem that relates to nutrient absorption is that infection often causes diarrhea which in turns causes the food to go through the intestine so fast that absorption of the nutrients is much less because of the poor digestion. Nausea also contributes to the dilemma.

There are many mouth and oral related problems that can be associated with malnutrition and a HIV sufferer as well and they are:

    oral candida
    oral ulcers
    lesions in the esophagus
    lesions in the mouth
    herpes in the mouth
    gum disease

These complications cause a person to avoid eating and thus become even more malnourished. But the loss of weight isnt the total problem. Because once a person is so malnourished and their cell mass reaches what is considered a critical level, death is usually imminent.

A human can not survive once the body cell mass reaches this critical point. Malnourishment goes beyond burning up fat and losing weight it actually eats away at the lean tissue in the body. This is where the major threat to survival related to malnutrition kicks in…It is so sad but true that often people are dying of HIV starvation issues that are secondary to most the other problems that are related to HIV aids.