How To Gain Weight When Hiv Positive

How To Gain Weight When Hiv Positive

If you are HIV positive, gaining weight could be one of your top priorities. Proper nutrition is critical to your overall health and sustenance, so putting in the work to gain healthy weight is essential. However, figuring out how and what to eat can be a challenge. With that in mind, this article is going to outline everything you need to know about how to gain weight when HIV positive.

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  1. Understand Your Nutritional Needs
  2. Choose High-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense Foods
    1. Avoid Empty Calories
  3. Consider Liquid Supplements
  4. Exercise to Build Muscle Mass
  5. Conclusion

Understand Your Nutritional Needs

Before you start trying to gain weight, you need to understand what your nutritional needs are. HIV affects the body in different ways, including changes in metabolism and hormone levels.

For many people living with HIV, their nutritional needs might be higher than those of the general population. Research has shown that a diet high in protein and calories can help boost the immune system, preserve muscle mass, and reduce the risk of complications from HIV.

In general, it is recommended that you consume between 25 to 35 calories per kilogram of body weight every day. This means that if you weigh 70kg, you should aim to consume between 1,750 and 2,450 calories a day to gain weight.

Choose High-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense Foods

Once you know your nutritional needs, it is time to start thinking about your diet. Incorporating high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods into your meals can help you meet your calorie goals every day. Nutrient-dense foods contain essential vitamins and minerals that are critical to your health.

Some of the high-calorie, nutrient-dense foods you can eat include:

  • Nuts: They are calorie-dense and packed with protein, good fats, and fiber. Try adding them to your meals as a snack or making nut butter to spread on toast or crackers.
  • Avo: They are high in calories and healthy fats. You can add them to salads, smoothies, or eat as a spread on bread.
  • Quinoa: It is high in carbs and protein and contains fiber and minerals. It's perfect for a hearty breakfast or as a side dish for lunch or dinner.
  • Cheese: It's a good source of protein and fat, and you can use it in different forms. You can eat it on its own, add it to sandwiches or use it as a topping on pizza or pasta dishes.
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Avoid Empty Calories

When trying to gain weight, you might be tempted to add high-sugar or high-fat foods to your diet. However, it is essential to avoid these kinds of foods because they contain what is called "empty calories." Empty calories are foods that provide little nutritional value but a lot of calories. Examples include:

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  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Fast food
  • Chips

Instead, focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods that will help support your overall health, immune system, and weight gain.

Consider Liquid Supplements

If you are struggling to meet your calorie goals through foods alone, consider liquid supplements. Liquid supplements are calorie-dense drinks that can help you add extra calories and protein to your diet. You can find them online or at your local pharmacy or health food store.

If you decide to try liquid supplements, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian first to ensure they don't interact with any medications you are taking and don't have any negative effects on your HIV or overall health.

Exercise to Build Muscle Mass

Lastly, getting regular exercise can help you gain weight by building muscle mass. Strength training exercises like weightlifting, push-ups, and squats can help you build muscle, which is denser than fat and can help you gain weight more healthily.

If you are new to exercise, start with a few simple exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you gain strength and stamina. Additionally, talk to your doctor about creating an exercise plan that works for you.


Gaining weight when HIV positive can be a challenge, but it is possible. By understanding your nutritional needs and choosing high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods, you can start your weight gain journey. Additionally, regular exercise and liquid supplements can help you reach your calorie goals and gain weight safely and healthily.

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