Almost one in three of the world’s poorest children cannot reach their full potential due to malnutrition and the political leaders are calling on the world to take the action needed to transform the life chances of millions of children before the next Olympic Games in 2016.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), proper nutrition is crucial to protecting the lives and livelihoods of people living with HIV and improved food security also plays a key role in helping to stop the spread of epidemics. Food and nutrition support is essential for keeping people living with HIV healthy longer and for improving the effectiveness of treatment.
The World Food Programme also highlights that food insecurity can make it more difficult for people living with HIV to adhere to treatment and can lead them to forgoing treatment, selling off assets or engaging in commercial or transactional sex, therefore increasing the likelihood of HIV transmission.
A report published by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance in India on the impact of nutritional support on the health and quality of life of people living with HIV in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu found that nutrition support services are an important component of home and community-based care and support programmes.
The report also looked at women in the two states who felt that their economic status had reduced drastically due to their HIV positive status but, after following the advice of their social worker, they started to eat more nutritious food thereby improving their health and were then able to work again to earn a living.
In Cambodia, the Alliance’s linking organisation KHANA and implementing partners have been directing food support from the World Food Programme to some 10,000 households comprising people living with HIV or orphans and vulnerable children. The programme has also helped to improve economic sustainability, and provided food and financial support to reduce the barriers impeding access to basic services such as health care and schooling. But not for much longer as the food support is due to stop at the end of this year and without a comprehensive package of care and prevention, the concern is the knock on effect on the health of people living with HIV and on their families.
According to the Alliance’s policy advisor Felicia Wong: “The interconnectedness of HIV, food security and livelihoods is very clear. Civil society and communities need to communicate to donors and governments to better recognise these critical synergies and support them through improved policies, cross-ministry coordination and donor harmonisation.”
Alliance India's report: Nutritional Support and health outcomes in the context of HIV and AIDS
An article by Key Correspondent, Chheav Aphyra: Over 10,000 HIV positive Cambodian households to lose food support by end of the year