Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

Integrating HIV, food security and nutrition policies

This policy brief, published by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in collaboration with the World Food Programme and the WHO, provides guidance on how governments, civil society and international partners can address food and nutrition concerns in the context of HIV.

UNAIDS says that poor food security and nutrition are hindering the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and related diseases.

Adequate nutrition is essential to fully benefit from antiretroviral therapy.

Malnutrition in HIV patients can also increase susceptibility to co-infections and accelerate progression of HIV-related diseases. 

UNAIDS suggests that governments integrate HIV and nutrition programmes by incorporating nutrition indicators into HIV monitoring, offering nutritional counselling to HIV patients, providing HIV information in agricultural extension programmes as well as using farmers organisations as entry points for HIV care and support activities.

It recommends that international organisations support — through technical assistance and funding — such efforts.

And it proposes that civil society partners increase networking and information exchange to improve public understanding of how proper food and nutrition can reduce vulnerability to HIV infection, and increase resilience to AIDS.

The UN body cites a Kenyan programme, the Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV, as an example of best practice. Nutrition support has been given to 50,000 people living with HIV and lacking food security across 19 locations. The majority gained weight, recovered strength and could go back to work.

Link to full article from UNAIDS [241kB]

This policy brief has been prepared by UNAIDS with the support of the World Food Programme and the WHO.