by Ashley E.Thomas, MS, Dietitian
A diagnosis of HIV/AIDS creates a complex approach to treatment and care. When thinking of treating and living with HIV/AIDS, it is important to take into account the role of nutrition and the positive impact it can have on easing the symptoms and side effects experienced from treatment and medication.
A diagnosis can also result in a compromised immune system, increasing the risk of infection. Proper nutrition therapy may improve quality of life, immune function and decrease the incidence of related diseases and disease progression that are often associated with HIV/AIDS infection.
One of the major changes one experiences while undergoing HIV treatment is extreme weight loss. Numerous studies support the role of Medical Nutrition Therapy for the management of HIV/AIDS to avoid or reduce unintended weight loss. Medical Nutrition Therapy also helps reduce the risk of comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other complications.
In order to help low-income residents of Indiana living with HIV, Partners in Nutrition Indiana joined forces with the Indiana State Department of Health to offer Medical Nutrition Therapy services through serving medically-tailored meals statewide. Our Ryan’s Meals for Life program was named in honor of fellow Hoosier Ryan White and is funded through a Ryan White Part B grant. Once a client is enrolled in the program, they undergo a screening and assessment to address any medical nutrition needs. The client is then invited to speak with a Registered Dietitian based on their nutritional assessment/screening outcomes. As our clients continually benefit from proper nutrition, we are proud to be an important part of Indiana’s End the HIV Epidemic campaign.
For information on how to enroll in the Ryan’s Meals for Life program, please call toll free 844-935-9353 or visit www.mealsonwheelsindy.org.