For nearly 30 years, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) have been shrouded in myths and misconceptions. In some cases, these mistaken ideas have prompted the very behaviors that cause more people to become HIV-positive. Although unanswered questions about HIV remain, researchers have learned a great deal. Here are the top ten myths about HIV, along with the facts to dispute them.
You may not feel like eating because you are sick to your stomach or food just doesn't appeal to you. HIV itself or HIV medicines can cause you to feel this way.
You may not feel like eating because you are depressed. Depression can make you lose your appetite. If you have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy or have other depression symptoms, tell your doctor.
If you have diarrhea, your body may not be able to absorb all of the nutrition from your food.
If you are a man and you have a low level of the hormone testosterone, your body may not be able to turn your food into muscle tissue.
When you lose weight, you lose muscle, fat, or both. Exercising to build muscle and eating healthy foods are part of treatment. Your doctor also may change your medicines or add new ones.
Marijuana has been shown to stimulate the appetite. Talk to your doctor if you're interested in trying it.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet with enough protein and calories may help you keep weight on. It also can help your immune system stay strong to fight infection.
If you are sick to your stomach or don't feel like eating, discuss your medicines with your doctor. It may be possible to change medicines. Do not change medicines on your own. Always discuss changes in medicines with your doctor, and make those decisions together.
If you don't feel like eating, eat your favorite foods. Eat smaller meals several times a day instead of a few large ones.
Drink high-calorie protein shakes between meals. Try nutritious drinks, such as Ensure. Protein or energy bars are another good way to get extra calories between meals.
If you have diarrhea, eat bland foods like rice, bananas, or bread. Avoid high-fiber foods. Milk products can cause diarrhea for some people who react to the sugar or lactose in the milk. If you have this problem, try lactose-free or soy-based products.
If you have mouth sores, avoid spicy foods, hot or cold foods, oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits. Stay away from hard or crunchy foods. Use a straw when you drink.
If you are sick to your stomach, try drinking peppermint or ginger tea.