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close this bookAids Home Care Handbook (WHO, 1993, 178 p.)
close this folderPart II: Reference Guide
close this folderChapter Five: Management of the common symptoms of AIDS in the home
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentFever
View the documentDiarrhoea
View the documentSkin Problems
View the documentMouth and throat problems
View the documentCoughing and difficulty in breathing
View the documentGenital problems
View the documentNutrition problems
View the documentNausea and vomiting
View the documentAnxiety and depression
View the documentPain
View the documentTiredness and weakness
View the documentMental confusion and dementia


This chapter covers the management of the most common symptoms that people with AIDS are likely to develop. It provides the information which you as a health care worker need to give to people with AIDS and their families so that they can prevent and treat these symptoms at home and know when they should seek help.

Each group of health problems or symptoms is discussed under the following headings:

Problems and possible causes

This section gives a brief description of the health problem or symptom, and how it relates to someone with AIDS. In addition, some possible reasons for the symptoms are given in order to help people think how to prevent or reduce them.

What to do at home

This section describes what people can do in the home to prevent and treat the symptoms.

Only the most simple, inexpensive, and readily available medicines that may be used safely in the home are described in detail. Chapter Seven covers the use of such medicines in more detail. If available, the national standards of your country for treating specific problems should be followed; the information provided here is merely a guide.

For medicines or treatments not described here, it is the responsibility of the health care worker prescribing or distributing them to give full instructions on how and when they should be used.

When sick people and their families must seek help

This section describes the symptoms and changes that should warn the person with AIDS or the family to seek help from a health care worker. You, the health care worker, must explain to sick people and their families that the appearance of the symptoms and signs described in this section means that they need to seek the advice and help of a health care worker, preferably the health care worker they usually see, who may be working in the community, at a clinic, health centre or hospital. It is much better for people to go to the same place and work with the same health care worker repeatedly during the process of treating AIDS symptoms than it is to keep changing or shopping around. Meeting more health care workers does not mean increasing the chances of having good health.


This section is for any notes you may have on the topic, based on your experience of treatments, on your knowledge of local conditions or on further training you may receive.