A person with HIV wasting syndrome loses at least 10 percent of her body weight and has at least 30 days of either diarrhea or weakness and fever. A person with HIV-associated wasting is considered to have AIDS. Severe loss of weight and muscle, or lean body mass, leads to muscle weakness and organ failure. Wasting is caused by many things:
- Not wanting to eat (poor appetite)
- Side effects from drugs, like a change in your sense of taste
- No energy to shop and prepare food
- Sore mouth
- Problems swallowing
- Nausea or vomiting
- Problems absorbing nutrients
- Feeling full from only a small amount of food because your stomach doesn't empty right
Here are some tips to help you keep weight on and treat weight loss:
- Try to prevent or treat opportunistic infections that interfere with eating.
- Talk to your doctor about medicines to increase your appetite and to treat nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Eat healthy foods. To find out what foods are good for you, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist. There are nutritionists who specialize in HIV/AIDS.
- Ask your doctor about keeping fit and about resistance training, which involves lifting small weights to build muscle.