In Africa, the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) complex is commonly referred to as "slim disease" because, as the disease progresses, food intake and metabolism are altered, leading to visible body weight loss. In this descriptive, cross-sectional pilot study, 50 HIV-seropositive adults attending the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, were interviewed during the late spring of 2003. Demographics, medical HIV history and current status of their HIV disease, food safety, and food security information were collected. One 24-hour dietary recall was completed, height and weight were measured, and body mass index (BMI) was calculated for each participant. Results show that women participants had a higher mean BMI and maintained it through disease progression compared with men (P<0.02). The majority of the participants cited cost as a barrier in purchasing adequate amounts of food (92%). Fruit and vegetable intake was low overall (<three servings/day). The foods contributing most to daily energy intake were fried fish, white rice, kenkey, white bread, and fufu. In fighting the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, registered dietitians must consider barriers to achieving optimal nutritional status in a cultural context to enhance feasibility and ensure the effectiveness of dietary interventions.