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Caring for Someone With HIV or AIDS

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Tips for AIDS Caregivers continued...

Allow your loved one to talk, but don’t insist. Don’t be reluctant to talk about your loved one’s illness. Ask if they feel like talking; they may be hesitant to bring it up, believing it will make you uncomfortable. If your friend or loved seems uncomfortable talking, change the subject. Don’t feel like you have to talk about anything. It's fine just to sit together silently -- reading, listening to music, or watching television. You can express your care and concern for the person without saying a word.

Keep them involved. Don’t try to do everything for your loved one or make all of the decisions. Your loved one may have lost control over many aspects of life. Allow them to make decisions and control things he or she can. Have your loved one help around the house if he or she is able. Include them in family discussions about books, TV shows, current events, weekend plans, or even menu planning.

Encourage good nutrition. Do your best to provide the person with a well-balanced diet including plenty of nutrients, fiber, and fluids. Encourage your loved one to eat as much as he or she is able. Preparing food for a person with AIDS requires a little extra care. It is important to keep hands, cooking utensils, and food preparation surfaces clean. It is also important to wash fresh fruits and vegetables well, cook or peel organic vegetables, cook meats and poultry well, and avoid uncooked seafood and raw eggs. If nausea and/or vomiting is a problem, ask the doctor for a medication that can help, and avoid fatty, fried, or spicy foods.

Protect against infections. An infection that would make you mildly ill, if at all, could be serious or even fatal for a person with AIDS. To avoid spreading infections, wash hands often, keep your immunizations up to date, don’t allow visits from friends or family members who are sick, and keep the home and laundry clean. Also protect yourself from infection by not sharing personal items such as tweezers or razors and by using rubber gloves if you will have contact with bodily fluids or wastes.

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