298 HIV and AIDS
➤ A person with HIV
and diarrhea lasting
more than 1 month
may need to start
ART (see page 517).
Diarrhea is passing 3 or more loose or watery stools in
a day. Passing many normal stools is not the same as having
diarrhea. Diarrhea may come and go and can be hard to cure.
The most common causes of diarrhea in persons with HIV
are infections in the intestines from unclean water or food,
infection because of HIV, or the side effects of some medicines.
Diarrhea can cause:
• malnutrition, if the food passes through the body so quickly
that the body cannot use it. Also, people with diarrhea often
do not eat because they are not hungry.
• dehydration, if the body loses more liquid in the stools than
the person takes in. Dehydration happens faster in hot
climates and in people who have fever.
Signs of dehydration:
• little or no urine
• dry mouth
• feeling dizzy when standing up
• loss of stretchiness of the skin
Lift the skin between
...if the skin fold does not fall
right back to normal, the person
IMPORTANT If someone has these signs and is also vomiting,
she needs liquids in the vein (IV) or in the rectum (see page 541).
Get medical help fast. Severe dehydration is an emergency.
some of this,
• Prevent dehydration by drinking more than usual.
Fruit juices, coconut water or milk, sweetened weak
tea, gruel, soup, rice water, and rehydration drink
(see page 540) are good for fighting dehydration.
Even if the person does not feel thirsty, she should
sip something every 5 to 10 minutes.
• Keep eating. Try to eat small amounts of foods
that are easy to digest. Cook food well, and then
mash and grind it. Some good foods are cereals
mixed with beans, meat, or fish; dairy products,
such as milk, cheese and yogurt; and bananas. Do
not eat uncooked vegetables, whole grains, fruit
peels, hot peppers, or foods or drinks with a lot of
sugar.These make diarrhea worse.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012