By Margo Woods, DSc, Emily Potts, MSc, and Joan Connors, DMin, RD

Fatigue is a lack of energy, exhaustion, and prolonged tiredness. It can be one of the most debilitating symptoms experienced by people with HIV. Try these ways to manage the symptoms and improve your energy levels:

  • Eat every 1–2 hours to get your calories in! Force it if you have to—some people find that it helps to set an alarm clock.

  • Use home delivery services available to you.

  • When possible, eat with friends.

  • Limit caffeine, as this can sometimes increase fatigue once the caffeine wears off.

  • Nutritious is best, but go for anything if you’re having a hard time: the biggest priority is calories to keep your weight from dropping. Canned soups, frozen dinners, and pizza work well.

  • Focus on your favorite foods, and if you cook, make a double portion so that you can freeze some for an easy meal later.

  • Keep food beside you all day, so that you can munch. Trail mix, snack bars, dried fruit, and nuts work well.

  • If drinking comes more easily than eating, try a milkshake (blend low fat yogurt or milk with any of the following: canned fruit, juice, cocoa mix, peanut butter, or instant breakfast). Try adding dry powdered milk or protein powders to your drink.

  • Keep hard boiled eggs in the refrigerator and snack on them throughout the day.

  • Get adequate sleep, relaxation, and exercise.

  • If you’re experiencing a prolonged loss of appetite, check with your doctor about the possibility of trying an appetite stimulant.

  • Check with your doctor if you are experiencing prolonged fatigue.

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