Cooking For Someone With AIDS

When caring for someone with AIDS, avoid food-borne infections by using some basic cooking instructions.

Someone with AIDS can eat almost anything—in fact, the more food eaten the better. A well-balanced diet with plenty of nutrients, fiber, and liquids is healthy for everybody, even persons living with AIDS. You should, however, follow a few simple food-preparation rules to help protect your loved one from infection.

  • Don’t use unpasteurized milk.
  • Don’t use raw eggs. (Be careful. Homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, ice cream, “smoothie”-type fruit drinks, and other made-from-scratch items may contain raw eggs.)
  • Do cook all beef, pork, chicken, fish, and other meats thoroughly. There should be no pink in the middle.
  • Don’t use raw fish or shellfish.
  • Don’t let juices from uncooked beef, pork, or chicken, or water from shrimp, fish, or other seafood touch other food.
  • Use a cutting board and wash it with soap and hot water between each food you cut on it.
  • Wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly. Cook or peel organic fruits and vegetables because they may have germs on the skins. Don’t use organic lettuce or other organic vegetables that cannot be peeled or cooked.
  • To keep food from spoiling, serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Cover leftover food and store it in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

A person living with AIDS doesn’t need separate dishes, knives, forks, or spoons. His or her dishes don’t require special cleaning, either. Just wash all dishes together with soap or detergent in hot water. Wash all utensils (knives, spatulas, mixing spoons, etc.) before reusing them. If you taste food while cooking, use a clean spoon every time you taste. Don’t stir with the spoon you use to taste.

Your loved one can fix food for other people. Just like everybody else who fixes food, people with AIDS should wash their hands first and not lick their fingers or utensils while they’re cooking. No one who has diarrhea, however, should ever prepare food.

© Copyright FamilyCare America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Adapted from Caring for Someone with AIDS at Home: A Guide, ACTIS Publication No. D817, United States Department of Health and Human Services, AIDS Clinical Trial Information Service.

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