About the Illness

Loss of appetite is a common problem amongst people living with chronic health conditions, including those who are HIV+. There are many causes, amongst which are emotional anxiety or depression, illness or infection like flu or malaria. Senses of smell and taste can change, or if there are too many poisons in the liver and kidneys, appetite may decrease.
Taking medications can blunt appetites because these often have to be taken with a lot of water, or they can just change your senses of taste and smell so that you don’t feel like eating.
Whatever the cause, losing your appetite can have serious consequences for those who are HIV+ as they have higher energy requirements than others. If these are not met, malnutrition and weight loss may result. It is therefore extremely important to make sure appropriate steps are taken to restore lost appetites and start eating enough food again.

Common Symptoms

Food becomes tasteless (loss of sense of taste and smell); saliva tastes bitter; food smells cause nausea.

Children’s Issues

Loss of appetite in children could mean they have an infection.
Check for symptoms of infection and treat.

Herbal Therapy

Increase your appetite by trying one of the following at least 30 minutes before a meal:

Mondia whitei Roots good for all

Chew on the roots.

Guava good for all

Eat an unripe guava.

Lemon/Vinegar Solution good for all

Dissolve 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar in 1 glass warm water.

Food and Nutrition Advice

Make food taste better by using the following spices when cooking:
•   Cinnamon (in food or tea)
•   Ginger (in food or tea)
•   Cardamom (in food or tea)
•   Cloves (in soups, stews or tea)
•   Cayenne pepper (in food or water)
•   Tamarind
•   Garlic
•   Coriander
•   Chilli.

Body Work and General Advice

  • Only eat when you are hungry.
  • Eat small meals more often.
  • Eat in well ventilated room away from unpleasant smells.
  • Eat with family and friends.
  • Drink water, soups and herbal teas throughout the day.
  • Flavour food with spices.
  • Avoid gas-creating food and drink.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Take light exercise regularly.
  • Rinse mouth before eating to make food taste fresher.

Ask for professional help if you lose a lot of weight very rapidly.


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