What is HIV/AIDS? 177
Preventing some infections with medicines
For persons with HIV/AIDS, regular use of the antibiotic cotrimoxazole
helps prevent pneumonia, diarrhea, and other infections. You should start
taking it if you have problems with weight loss, sores or cracks around your
lips, itching rashes, shingles, mouth ulcers, or frequent colds.
Treatment: Take cotrimoxazole 960 mg (double strength) by mouth every
day with plenty of water. If possible, take it every day whether you feel sick
IMPORTANT Allergic reactions to cotrimoxazole are more common in
persons with AIDS. Stop taking it if you get a new skin rash or any other
sign of drug allergy.
IMPORTANT Some women have more problems with yeast infections of
the vagina when they take antibiotics. Eating yogurt or sour milk, or sitting
in a bowl of water with some yogurt or vinegar in it can help. For more
information on yeast infections, see pages 111 to 113.
In some countries it is also recommended that people with HIV take
medicines to prevent tuberculosis (TB). Talk with an experienced health
worker about this.
AIDS affects the body’s ability to digest food properly, and
it also causes people to lose their appetite so they become
very thin. This can also happen because of the side effects
of medicines, mouth and throat problems, diarrhea, and
difficulty digesting fats.
If you have HIV, it is especially important to try to eat
well so you do not lose weight, and your body and immune
system can be as healthy as possible. To do this, try to eat a
varied or balanced diet (see page 86), drink clean water, and
take a daily multivitamin. If available, you may also want to take supplements
of vitamins A, C, and E, as they may slow the ability of the HIV virus to grow in
Foods with vitamin A include carrots, mangos, papayas, sweet potatoes, milk,
eggs, and dark green leafy vegetables (such as kale, spinach, turnip greens).
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007