Healthy diet when you have HIV

Q. I have HIV.  Are there any foods that I need to stay away from?  If so, which ones.  Also, is it OK drink alcohol with having HIV?

A. HIV positive people should try to follow general healthy living advice-a diet with plenty of fruit and veg, limited red meat and processed products, good consumption of fish and chicken. You should avoid uncooked food and risky unusual foods. Hydration is important and alcohol of course can be enjoyed within healthy drinking limits.  Two to three units of alcohol a day should be fine, and binge drinking should be avoided if possible.

Can animal parasites give infections if I have HIV?

Q. I have read that some some animals can have parasites that might give me an infection because I have HIV.  What animals are included in this group and what kind of things should I look out for.  We have both a cat and a dog.  Can the animals be tested for any relevant parasites?

A. Animals may carry a host of infections and everyone needs to take reasonable precautions.  There is no need to carry out special testing and animals should be assessed generally to check they are reasonably healthy and their routine vaccinations are up to date.  Make sure they have treatment for fleas and be careful handling animals with loose bowels.

A. HIV positive people should wear gloves when handling litter trays for cats.  Animal faeces are particularly risky and hand washing rituals are important.  The pet should eat a healthy diet of cooked food and avoid the temptation to kiss the animal!  Cats and dogs may transmit Toxoplasmosis, Toxacara, cat scratch disease, hookworms, salmonella and a wide range of other infections.  Reptiles and exotic pets need to be avoided. – Dr. Laurence Gerlis

Helping to Heal the wounds of mistrust and betrayal; issues surrounding HIV, Herpes and other STDs.

The emotional impact of discovering that you have herpes or HIV can, for some people, outweigh the physical health issues one has to deal with.

Many people have found out that they have herpes from a partner or former partner who has not been open about their health condition, and the sense of betrayal can be profound and even damaging.

This hiv dating and herpes dating site has collected stories of site members and used them (with permission and anonymously) with the media. This work has helped break the stigma attached to having and STD. It has also given people an outlet to express their feelings.

One woman told the site that her boyfriend gave her herpes and she was left devastated by the experience and found it hard to trust people.  She said that herpes dating site Datepositive gave her a sense of hope about her future and new opportunities to meet people.

A woman who is HIV positive revealed her status to her work manager due to the need for doctor’s appointments, but then found herself being harassed for taking time off work. A man living in Scotland almost became destitute after becoming HIV positive. He became too ill to work and admitted to selling drugs in a desperate attempt to support himself.

To help deal with these issues, Datepositive has secured a fully qualified counsellor, Frankie Hall, to provide support to members. Questions can be sent to Frankie without revealing a name, and the questions and answers are posted on the website blog. A fully qualified sexual health specialist, Dr. Laurence Gerlis, provides answers to questions about health conditions.

One woman said that life became intolerable after she got herpes, and the opportunity to email site members and seek support from a counsellor made all the difference.  You can read some of the member stories at

Type of herpes

Q. How can I tell what kind of herpes I have? My doctor doesn’t seem to think it is important for me to differentiate.

Also, I have endometriosis – could herpes affect this?

A. A swab or blood test can differentiate type one from type two and it is important to know this because you can then predict the prognosis. Herpes probably does not affect endometriosis. Dr Laurence Gerlis

Herpes outbreak during pregnancy

Q. What happens if I have an outbreak when I am pregnant?

Can having herpes affect my baby before it is born?  What if I have an outbreak when I am due to deliver? - A member

A. A baby can pick up herpes on vaginal delivery, and if there is an outbreak in late pregnancy this may be an indication for Caesarian birth.

Otherwise herpes in pregnancy is not a problem for the baby.  Medication maybe given if the outbreak is severe and after the first three months, but this would only be used in extreme cases. - Dr Laurence Gerlis