Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Katharine R. Curry

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Third Advisor's Name

Evelyn B. Enrione


AIDS (Disease), Nutritional aspects

Date of Defense



Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and impaired or threatened nutritional status seem to be closely related. It is now known that AIDS results in many nutritional disorders including anorexia, vomiting, protein-energy malnutrition (PEM), nutrient deficiencies, and gastrointestinal, renal, and hepatic dysfunction (1-7, 8).

Reversibly, nutritional status may also have an impact on the development of AIDS among HIV-infected people. Not all individuals who have tested antibody positive for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) have developed AIDS or have even shown clinical symptoms (9, 10). A poor nutritional status, especially PEM, has a depressing effect on immunity which may predispose an individual to infection (11). It has been proposed that a qualitatively or quantitatively deficient diet could be among the factors precipitating the transition from HIV-positive to AIDS (12, 13).

The interrelationship between nutrition and AIDS reveals the importance of having a multidisciplinary health care team approach to treatment (11), including having a registered dietitian on the medical team. With regards to alimentation, the main responsibility of a dietitian is to inform the public concerning sound nutritional practices and encourage healthy food habits (14). In individuals with inadequate nutritional behavior, a positive, long-term change has been seen when nutrition education tailored to specific physiological and emotional needs was provided along with psychological support through counseling (14). This has been the case for patients with various illnesses and may also be true in AIDS patients as well.

Nutritional education specifically tailored for each AIDS patient could benefit the patient by improving the quality of life and preventing or minimizing weight loss and malnutrition (15-17). Also, it may influence the progression of the disease by delaying the onset of the most severe symptoms and increasing the efficacy of medical treatment (18, 19).

Several studies have contributed to a dietary rationale for nutritional intervention in HIV-infected and AIDS patients (2, 4, 20-25). Prospective, randomized clinical research in AIDS patients have not yet been published to support this dietary rationale; however, isolated case reports show its suitability (3). Furthermore, only nutrition intervention as applied by a medical team in an institution or hospital has been evaluated. Research is lacking concerning the evaluation of nutritional education of either non-institutionalized or hospitalized groups of persons who are managing their own food choice and intake. This study compares nutrition knowledge and food intakes in HIV-infected individuals prior to and following nutrition education. It was anticipated that education would increase the knowledge of nutritional care of AIDS patients and lead to better implementation of nutrition education programs.





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