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

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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More