How to manage other common symptoms of HIV/AIDS

Study Session 22 has already described how to manage the adverse side-effects of drugs used to treat HIV disease. In this section we summarise the advice you should give to help someone manage the symptoms of advanced HIV disease.

Nausea and vomiting

Note that persistent vomiting needs medical treatment, and you must refer the patient urgently.

Advise the sick person to:

  • seek locally available foods which he or she likes (tastes may change with illness), and which cause less nausea.
  • eat small but frequent locally available foods such as roasted potatoes.
  • let the patient drink what he/she likes, e.g. water, tea, ginger drink, etc.
  • avoid being near the person who is cooking.
  • use effective local remedies for nausea.
  • seek help from the health facility if vomiting occurs more than once a day, or if dry tongue, or passing little urine, or abdominal pain is present.

Diarrhoea

Advise the sick person to:

  • drink fluids frequently in small amounts, preferably oral rehydration solution (ORS). If ORS is not available, give home-made fluids such as rice soup, porridge, weak tea, water (with food), and other soups.
  • avoid sweet drinks, milk, coffee, strong tea and alcohol.
  • continue eating. For persistent diarrhoea, suggest a supportive diet, like carrot soup, which helps to replace vitamins and minerals, soothes the bowels and stimulates the appetite. Other foods that may help to reduce diarrhoea are rice and potatoes.
  • avoid eating raw foods (like bananas and tomatoes), cold foods, high-fibre foods, and foods containing fat. Tell them to avoid milk and cheese, but yogurt is better tolerated.

Refer patients with diarrhoea to a health centre if:

  • there is vomiting with fever.
  • blood is seen in the stool.
  • diarrhoea continues for more than five days and the patient becomes even weaker.
  • there is broken skin around the rectal area.
Last modified: Tuesday, 24 June 2014, 1:55 PM