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Positive Lifestyle




Living Positively with HIV

Story Ideas





This factsheet has been developed by David Patient, who has been living with HIV/AIDS for the past twenty years. Contact: drp@mweb.co.za

The contents are based primarily on the book written by Neil Orr, Research Psychologist and author of Positive Health. Contact:


»  HIV is a manageable disease and through adopting a positive lifestyle the onset of AIDS can be delayed for many years, in some instances by 20 years and more.

»  A positive lifestyle is aimed at maintaining a strong immune system. Research conducted by Neil Orr, a research psychologist has defined three components in maintaining a positive lifestyle thesea are: Physical (nutrition, vitamins and mineral supplements, physical exercise), Emotional, and Spiritual well being.

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Living Positively with HIV

Maintain body weight

»  A healthy diet keeps the body strong and illnesses away. For people living with HIV/AIDS this is even more important as it slows down the rate of at which HIV grows in the body.

»  When living with HIV/AIDS it is important for the person to eat more than a healthy person would.

»  With HIV the body loses weight as it uses food differently as it breaks down protein (muscle) for energy. This is a slow process resulting in the muscles going down.

»  Maintaining the body mass acts as a buffer to the effects of opportunistic infections (Ois)


»  Food can be divided into three groups. It is important for people living with HIV/AIDS to eat from each of the groups every day:

o   Building Foods – Contain proteins and help build muscles. Such as: meat, beans, lentils and eggs.

o   Energy foods – contain carbohydrates that the body converts into energy such as: brown bread, stamp, mielies, maize meal, brown rice.

o   Protector foods contain vitamins which defend the body against any infections. These include: fruit and vegetables, garlic and ginger.

»  Anti-oxidants like Vitamin C, Selenium, Vitamin A/Beta-carotene are essential in HIV management due to their effect on viral activity.

»  Selenium (Trace Mineral) dramatically slows down disease progression and should be taken with Vitamin E. The recommended daily dosage of Selenium is 75 – 200 micrograms. Selenium and Vitamin E are obtainable in capsules. Foods that include Selenium are: Brazil Nuts, sea fish, pronutro cereal, sunflower seeds or coconut.

»  Zinc (Mineral) strengthens the immune system. The recommended minimum  intake of zinc is 15mg and the maximum intake is 45mg per day. Zinc is obtainable in capsular forms from a local pharmacy. Zinc is also contained in the following foods: pumpkin and squash seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts. For maximum results Zinc should be used in combination with Vitamin A/Beta-carotene.

»  African Potato (Hypoxis, Inkomfe)  balances immune system when taken in the correct dosage. The manufactured products Moducare® and ImmunoChoice® are available from local pharmacies or chemist. The African Potato is effective in boosting the immune system as it contains Sterols and Sterolins.

»  Garlic and pumpkin seeds destroy the entire spectrum of non-viral gastrointestinal infections, if taken in moderate amounts. Joghurt helps to prevent diarrhoea and thrush.

»  The use of sugar should be restricted or completely avoided. Sugar stimulates fungal infections such as candida or thrush. It has a direct effect on many of the medications causing elevated levels of blood glucose.

»  Alcohol is bad for nutrition and the immune system as it reduces T-cell activity and cuts down antibody production by 50 percent.


»   Basic hygiene measures such as ensuring that water is clean & cleaning food properly – significantly reduces gastrointestinal infections.

Maintain core body temperature

»  A warm body fights HIV better than a cold body. HIV and other pathogens are weakened by heat. E.g., HIV activity is reduced by 40 percent at 41 degrees Celsius of core body temperature.

Regular Exercise

»   Regular physical exercise assists in maintaining body temperature

»   A quick walk or slow jog for 20 minutes and daily stretching exercises stimulate lymph drainage and release the fighter cells needed in keeping HIV suppressed.

»   Strenuous exercise should be avoided, unless the infected person is already a serious athlete.

Psychological Wellbeing

»   Creating a compelling future is essential for the emotional and psychological well-being of a PLWH/A (Person Living With HIV/AIDS.)

»   Confronting the fear of illness, stigma, rejection and death are essential.

»   A person who is in a supportive environment or in a therapy support group will survive longer than those dealing with their infection in isolation.

»   Active involvement in ones health has a positive effect on immune function.

»   The key is to take control over their own well being and need not feel powerless over their infection.

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Story Ideas

o       Living with HIV/AIDS: Interview individuals living with HIV/AIDS and find out what they are doing to remain healthy?

o       Vitamins and supplements are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle look at what are the various options available to people living with HIV/AIDS and what would the cost involved be for a PLWHA?

o       Has the Department of Agriculture instituted programmes aimed at providing support to people living with HIV/AIDS, what are those programmes and what are the basis upon which they have been developed?

o       Sustainable “kitchen gardening”, how can a family live off the land by maintaining and managing the soil? What support are home and community based care programmes providing to support the development of home and community gardens?

o       The current food shortages being experienced in Southern Africa is described as a famine with a difference owing to HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV/AIDS have greater nutritional and food needs so as to maintain a healthy immune system. How are emergency relief agencies such as the World Food Programme, the Food and Agricultural Organisations, Oxfam and others addressing the nutritional needs of those living with HIV/AIDS?

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Networks and Support Groups

National Association of People living with HIV/AIDS
Thandoxolo Doro
Tel: 011 872 0975
Fax: 011 872 1343
Email: napnet@apc.sn.org
Website: www.napwa.org.za

Treatment Action Campaign
Zachie Achmat/Nathan Geffen
Tel: (27) (21) 788 3507
Fax: (27) (21) 788 3726
E-mail: info@tac.org.za
Website: www.tac.org

AIDS Consortium
Nkagare Makhudu
Tel: 011 403 0265
Fax: 011 339 4450
Email: tehc@aidsconsortium.org.za
Website: www.aidsconsortium.co.za

NACOSA Western Cape
Lu-anne Hatange
Tel: 021 425 4308
Fax: 021 421 8754
Email: nacosawc@new.co.za
Website: www.wc-nacosa.co.za

Positive Women's Newtwork
Prudence Mabele
E-mail: pmabele@mweb.co.za

Masi Makhalemele

Tel: 011 989 1521
Mobile: 073 265 8986
Email: mwmakhal@mweb.co.za

Hope Worldwide
David Jason Wessenaar
Tel: 011 984 44 22
Email: 0362dwessenaar@hotmail.com

Rick Stephens
Tel: 021 426 4770
Mobile: 083 3112534
Email: aids@global.co.za

Positive Role Models

David Patient
Empowerment Concept

Ricky Treurnicht
Tel: 072 206 4311/023 626 1961

Antoinette Fouche
Tel: 083 225 9248

Brett Anderson
Consultant: 083 628 4206 

Busi Chamane
Dept of Minerals & EnergyHIV/AIDS Co-ordinator: 082 495 5792


Elizabeth Dudd
UN HIV in the workplace
Consultant 082 829 3094


Maria Ndlovu
EAP Manager - Transnet: 011 308 2295

Musa Njoko: Own consultancy in assoc with Blue Moon Agency: 083 432 9479 or 083 459 5535 musa@bluemoon.co.za

Kim Nyathi: Centre for the Study of AIDS, University of Pretoria, 012 420 5190 knyathi@postino.up.ac.za

Ernest Saila
Dept of Health: 072 125 1232


Jim Tabane
SAPS HIV/AIDS Co-ordinator: 983 503 4524

Martin Vosloo
Eskom Generations: 083 236 0552 Martin.Vosloo@eskom.co.za

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Nutrition and HIV/AIDS

Positivepeople.com, www.positivepeople.com Provides valuable information to those living with HIV/AIDS or those looking for information that could assist a friend.

The body, www.thebody.com
A comprehensive site on HIV/AIDS including information prevention, treatment, care and support.

Nutrition links and resources, http://www.hivresources.com/Nutrition.htm Provides links to other sites dealing with all aspects of HIV/AIDS and nutrition.

Tufts University, School of Medicine, Nutrition/Infection Unit, http://www.tufts.edu/med/nutrition_HIV
Web site includes information on current research studies, related HIV health issues, newsletter on nutrition and HIV

Networks and Support Groups

Global Network of people living with HIV/AIDS, http://www.gnpplus.net
GNP+ aims to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV/AIDS. This is achieved by helping to build the capacity of people with HIV/AIDS on the global, regional and national level.

The National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS, www.napwa.org.za
NAPWA is a national representative organization co-originating the needs, aspirations and resources for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Treatment Action Campaign, www.tac.org.za
The countries leading advocacy group for expanding access to treatment, educating South Africans about living with HIV/AIDS and ultimately improving the health and lives of those living with HIV/AIDS.

The AIDS Consortium, http://www.aidsconsortium.org.za
provides access to information on any aspect of HIV/AIDS and lobbies for a human rights-based response to the epidemic.

The AIDS Law Project (ALP), www.alp.org.za
Is an organisation that specialises in assisting people living with HIV/AIDS to get access to proper medical treatment, school for children and even work. This website provides valuable information on the human rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

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»  Positive Health, by Neil Orr, Research Psychologist in HIV/AIDS, This publication defines the nutritional requirements to maintain a healthy immune system. It provides practical and concrete suggestions of regional foods containing these ‘supplements’.

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