Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Eat, Drink and Be Merry
While you're away, you are bound to be introduced to new and different foods. But because some countries' food and water supplies may not be as safe as those at home, you will need to be careful in what you choose to eat and drink. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while you sample the local cuisine.

DO NOT EAT RAW FOODS - This is an important tip for all travelers regardless of their HIV status. Local produce that is uncooked may contain microorganisms from the local soil or water. The same goes for raw or undercooked seafood or meat especially ground meat. Unpasteurized milk and dairy products also pose a risk and should not be consumed.

STEER CLEAR OF STREET VENDORS - Although it will be tempting to try cuisine prepared fresh by the locals, food from street vendors is a dangerous bet. Stick to restaurants and eat only food that is steaming hot and fruits that you peel yourself.

BE PICKY WITH WHAT YOU EAT - Restaurants are the obvious choice for safe foods but you still need to be careful of what you eat. In hot climates, certain ingredients can spoil quickly like eggs and dairy products. If you find yourself in a hot, tropical climate consider staying away from such products even in restaurants.

WATCH WHAT YOU DRINK - Like raw and uncooked foods, drinks can also be dangerous to your health. To protect against germs in the local water, drink only bottled beverages (including carbonated drinks such as soda) without ice. Hot tea and coffee, beer and wine are safe in addition to water that has been boiled for at least one minute. If you can't boil your water, using a filter and treating it with iodine and chlorine can help but is not as effective as boiling.

ADHERE TO YOUR DIET - If you have been prescribed a special diet by your doctor or health care professional follow the above recommendations but also stick to what you have been told. Sometimes it might not be possible to eat exactly as you are supposed to, but try to stay as close as possible to what is recommended. Your diet is an important part of keeping your body healthy and safe from infections.