News / Health

HIV/AIDS Sufferers Need Good Nutrition to Stay Healthy

WFP, with support from UN program on HIV/AIDS, launching new policy to make food, nutritional support more available to people living with HIV

HIV positive child is given some jam prior to her ARV, near Durban, South Africa, 30 Nov 2010
HIV positive child is given some jam prior to her ARV, near Durban, South Africa, 30 Nov 2010
TEXT SIZE - +

The World Food Program says there is growing evidence that food and good nutrition helps people with HIV stay healthy and improve the effectiveness of treatment. WFP, supported by the Joint U.N. program on HIV/AIDS, is launching a new policy to make food and nutritional support more available to people living with HIV.

HIV/AIDS often is described as the wasting disease.  That is because people who are infected with HIV are at high risk of losing weight and becoming malnourished.  They are at risk of disease and are vulnerable to getting tuberculosis and dying.  

UNAIDS reports an estimated 2.6 million people were newly infected with HIV last year.  It says more than 33 million people are living with HIV, many of them thanks to anti-retroviral therapy.

But, the World Food Program argues anti-retroviral therapy alone is not enough to keep people healthy and alive.  WFP's head of Nutrition and HIV, Martin Bloem says food and nutritional support are vital components of this medical treatment.

He says people who do not have access to food find it difficult to take anti-retroviral drugs.  He says patients often suffer unpleasant side effects and the risk of their going off treatment rises.

"We have seen that when you put people on treatment in most less developed countries, that the effectiveness of the treatment is not the same as if you start the treatment in the U.S. or in Europe, for example.  So people have about two to six times higher mortality…in the first couple of months, when they start treatment."  

What makes the crucial difference, says Bloem, is access to proper nutrition.  He explains HIV patients in wealthy countries get the food they need to keep them healthy and alive, which often is not the case in the poor countries.  

He says malnourished people are at greater risk of dying from HIV.  Therefore, he says it is essential they regain the weight they have lost.  He says the patient needs to consume a nutritious diet that helps to rebuild the tissues, the fat mass and muscles that were lost.

He says WFP's new strategy has several different elements.  The first he says is to provide HIV patients with adequate nutrition to make their treatment as effective as possible.

"The purpose in the first couple of weeks and months is to make the person as healthy as possible," he said. "So, you need what we call the most nutrient dense food affordable and available for people who are adults.  At this particular moment, we do not have those particular products.  So, what we have done is to look into the products, which are available now for children who are severely malnourished.  And, those products are available for us to give to adults."  

Another important component of WFP's new policy is to provide social safety nets to households of people who have HIV.  Under the plan, these families may receive food rations, cash transfers or vouchers that would allow them to purchase food at local markets.

WFP says the aim of this program is to help patients stick to their treatment, while protecting their households from further vulnerability.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid