The initials AIDS stand for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It’s a viral infection which, to date, has no known cure. The human body has many different types of white blood cells that circulate around the body. These all have a specific job to do in the body’s natural immune system.

Some white blood cells, T4, act as helper cells. These support other cells of immunity to defend the body against infection. These T4 cells can become infected with the AIDS virus and the virus then kills the T4 cells. As a result, the natural immune system of the body does not do its job properly. The body is easily attacked by even simple infections, allowing more serious secondary infections to take hold.

Patients’ reaction may vary and initially the person may suffer for only a short period from an illness with similar symptoms to that of glandular fever. All this may appear only a few months after the initial infection. Others show no sign of any illness for years. All sorts of symptoms may appear such as diarrhoea, fever – adults, sweating, fatigue and aching joints. The patient may also suffer of sudden weight loss. As the disease progresses and the symptoms become more severe, conditions such as lung disease, skin tumours, severe fungal infections of the mouth and throat, and severe diarrhoea can occur. Patients suffering from AIDS also develop various malignancies, most notably Kaposi’s sarcoma and lymphomas.

The infection cannot be passed on by simply touching a patient or by drinking from the same glass. The virus is thought to die in the air and is destroyed outside the body by soap and household bleach. The infection is passed on by prolonged contact of body fluids, thus the recommendation of a CONDOM for sexual intercourse. For drug addicts, the use of a used syringe contaminated by infected blood is another method of infection. Blood transfusions between 1980 and 1985 were also not fully protected by the antibody test for AIDS. Some people were infected during that period and if you had a blood transfusion at that time, it’s important that you should check with your Doctor.


Never share needles, but if you have to, then as a last resort to clean them. No cleaning method can be guaranteed to do the job so make sure you always have access to new, clean needles. Needle exchange programmes have been set up for this purpose. According to the analysis of HIV surveillance data by the Centres for Disease Control in the USA, 25 percent of AIDS cases reported in 2002 were among injection drug users.

Treatment options

As with all conditions, your Doctor should be consulted to diagnose and treat this condition. In all cases the AIDS patient must be under the constant supervision of a Doctor.
Diet hints

  • The AIDS virus can progress quickly and more severely in a person with nutritional deficiencies. Common nutritional deficiencies in AIDS patients include Vitamin A and C as well as zinc. These nutrients can be found in yellow, orange and red fruits and vegetables, pumpkin seeds and oysters.
  • Avoid all processed foods, saturated fats, alcohol, tea, coffee and simple sugars such as cakes, lollies and soft drinks.
  • Eat lots of raw, fresh fruits and vegetables – 4 to 5 servings a day. Drink fresh fruit juices with no added sugar and include plenty of fibre from whole grains in the diet as well.
  • Eat high quality proteins such as fish, eggs and yoghurt. Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids and yoghurt contains acidophilus which can help to improve the bowel bacteria. Eat only small quantities of lean meats.
  • Protein supplement powders supply all the necessary amino acids and don’t over burden the immune system.
  • Avoid yeast containing foods such as white breads, alcohol and mushrooms.
  • Introduce garlic wherever possible. It has natural healing and antibiotic properties.


Nutritional supplements are only to be used if the dietary vitamin intake is inadequate.

  • Vitamin C can support immune function and may therefore be beneficial.
  • Vitamin E has been reported to assist in slowing the progression of HIV to AIDS.
  • Vitamin B Complex may be deficient therefore supplementation may assist.
  • Many studies have shown that people with HIV have a greater need for Antioxidants. Coenzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant and nutrient that can aid in energy production and immunity.
  • Zinc can support immune function.
  • Milk thistle may assist liver function if using pharmaceutical medications for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
  • Turmeric may be a very useful in the treatment of HIV, as it can assist in stopping the virus at every stage of infection. This herb should be taken in the form of curcumin tablets.

Pharmacist’s advice

Ask your Pharmacist for advice.

  1. Use condoms to help reduce the spread of AIDS via sexual contact. Your Pharmacy stocks a range of condoms.
  2. Acidophilus may help improve digestion and bowel bacteria in some AIDS sufferers.
  3. If your diet is inadequate, consider some nutritional supplements. Vitamin C and vitamin E are often used to boost the immune system in AIDS patients. Selenium has also been used due to its antiviral activity.