Toolbox Talks

HIV/AIDS toolbox talk

To conduct a toolbox talk on working with Aids, you need to start by clarifying that Aids is the late stage of HIV infection. This toolbox talk trains your employees on all they need to know about working with Aids.

The late stage of HIV infection refers to the situation when a person's immune system is badly damaged and battles to fight diseases and certain cancers. Before the development of certain medications, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Nowadays, people can live much longer, even decades, with HIV before they develop AIDS.


Complications you could experience if you have AIDS and other health problems. Speak to your doctor about them:

  • HIV/AIDS and Opportunistic Infections;
  • AIDS, HIV and Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP);
  • HIV, AIDS and Cytomegalovirus;
  • HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis;
  • HIV, AIDS and Mycobacterium Avium Complex;
  • HIV and AIDS Dementia;
  • AIDS Wasting Syndrome;
  • HIV, AIDS and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma;
  • Lipodystrophy and HIV; and
  • HIV, AIDS and Kaposi's Sarcoma.
Let's look at what's at stake...

If you're HIV positive find out about HIV Treatment. If a doctor diagnoses you with HIV, you may not begin taking medications immediately. The decision to start treatment for HIV is individual and depends on your past medical history, the length of time you've been infected with HIV, current CD4 T cell count, and current health.

What's the danger?

You have the power to infect someone else, are you going to be a murderer or are you going to be honest?

Never willingly infect an innocent, healthy person. Keep in mind that being HIV positive isn't a death sentence and that the virus isn't in control - you are.

How to protect yourself

Here are two things you should know:

1. When you have an infectious illness, your body's immune response to the virus uses up more energy and nutrients than normal. When opportunistic infections are present, your body needs even more nutrients.

2. Good nutrition means eating a balanced diet that gives you all the right daily nutrients. The aims of good nutrition for people with HIV/Aids are to maintain ideal body weight, minimise muscle loss, prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies, ensure food safety and overcome problems that interfere with nutrient intake and absorption.

Here is a seven-point plan to good nutrition

Step 1:

Pay attention to your diet as soon as you know you are HIV-positive, and keep paying attention throughout the course of the disease.

Step 2:

Discuss your diet and related problems with a doctor or nutritionist, preferably one who has experience in counseling people with HIV/Aids.

Step 3:

Eat a varied diet, which includes the following food types:

  • Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cereals, porridge, samp, millet, corn, sorghum and pasta. These high-energy foods help.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and other substances vital to health, and you should eat a variety of these daily. Overcooking and soaking fruit and vegetables for long periods can destroy their vitamin content.
  • Meat and milk products supply muscle-building proteins and strengthen the immune system. Good protein sources: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products (milk, milk powder, yoghurt, buttermilk, cheese). Edible insects like Mopani worms are also high in protein.
  • Dried beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, soya, tofu and peanuts are good sources of protein too, and are especially important for vegetarians.
  • Sugars, fats and oils provide energy, and should be eaten in larger amounts after infections or periods of weight loss. Apart from adding sugar to food, you can get it from foods made with sugar (cakes, pastries, biscuits and desserts). Fats and oils include butter, margarine, lard, cooking oil, cream, mayonnaise and salad dressings (Note: In late-stage Aids, a high-fat diet may cause diarrhoea).

Step 4:

Exercise to build muscle. Weight loss in HIV/Aids is often due to loss of muscle mass. Simple activities, such as doing household chores and taking regular walks, help keep your muscles strong. Take it easy when you're feeling ill, or have diarrhoea, a cough, fever or fatigue.

Step 5:

Drink at least eight cups of fluid (water and other beverages) a day. Especially if you have diarrhoea, vomiting or night sweats, which cause water loss.

Step 6:

Avoid alcohol. It can harm the liver, cause a loss of vitamins, and makes you more vulnerable to infections. It's also less likely that you'll practise safe intercourse when you are under the influence of alcohol.

Step 7:

Get the essential vitamins and minerals:

Vitamin and mineral supplements don't make up for a nutritious diet. Foods contain many substances vital for health that you won't find in vitamin pills. It's helpful to take a vitamin-mineral supplement.

Keep in mind that you can stay healthy even if you have HIV/AIDS - it isn't a death sentence.

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