Before you head to the gym, talk to your healthcare provider about what exercise program is right for you.

We all know we need to exercise, but for people with HIV, it can be even more important.

  • Know why you need to exercise. Exercise can:
    • help you keep “muscle mass,” which people with HIV can lose
    • keep your bones strong to avoid osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones
    • reduce stress and help you sleep
    • boost your energy level
  • Find a workout partner to help you get going and stick to the program.
  • Make time to sleep. Your body rebuilds while you’re sleeping.
  • Listen to your body. If it’s in pain or tired, you need to take a break.

This helps you see how to balance a healthy diet


It’s very important for people with HIV to eat healthy, and also to be careful with eating certain foods.

What kinds of foods to eat

  • Protein (fish and meat) builds muscles and a strong immune system
  • Carbohydrates (fruits, grains, starches, and sugars) give you energy
  • Healthy fats (like olive oil or fat in avocado) are good for extra energy
  • Vitamins and minerals are supplements (added nutritional value)
  • Water helps cells—and your body—stay healthy

Food safety for people living with HIV

  • Don’t eat raw eggs, raw meats, or raw seafood (including sushi and shellfish)
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them
  • Use a separate surface for cutting up raw meats to cook
  • Always wash your hands and cooking tools with soap
  • Ask your healthcare provider if there are any foods you shouldn’t eat with the medication you’re taking

HIV and weight loss

Infection with HIV can lead to losing weight without wanting to. Here are some foods that can help you keep a healthy weight. Of course, don’t eat foods you’re allergic to, and talk to your healthcare provider before changing your diet.

  • peanut butter
  • legumes (dried beans and peas)
  • dairy foods like pasteurized cheese and cooked eggs
  • instant breakfast drinks
  • milkshakes

Water safety

Water that’s not filtered can have bacteria, viruses, and parasites in it that people with HIV have to avoid. Remember these two tips:

  • Never drink water from the outdoors, like lakes, rivers, or streams
  • If you’re traveling to a place where the water safety isn’t guaranteed, only drink water from a sealed bottle, and avoid ice

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