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[afro-nets] Importance of nutritious food in HIV/AIDS treatment

UN emphasizes importance of nutritious food in HIV/AIDS treatment

A simple yet nutritious diet can improve the effectiveness of treatment for 
people living with HIV/AIDS, the United Nations World Food Programme (*WFP* 
<>) said today, urging health-care providers, governments 
and other partners to incorporate good nutrition in treatment regimens.

“There is a growing body of evidence that food and nutritional support are 
essential for keeping people living with HIV healthy for longer and for 
improving the effectiveness of treatment,” said Martin Bloem, WFP’s head of 
Nutrition and HIV.

“If people don’t have access to food, it is hard to take antiretroviral drugs 
and the risk of going off the treatment rises. Among malnourished patients that 
start antiretroviral therapy (ART), the risk of death is two to six times 
higher compared to those who are receiving proper nourishment,” Mr. Bloem said 
during the AIDS 2010 conference in Vienna, a global gathering of experts on the 

WFP is the world’s largest provider of food support to people living with HIV 
and their families, as well as people with tuberculosis. The agency helped 2.9 
million people affected by the two diseases in 47 countries last year.

According to the agency, HIV-positive children need between 50 to 100 per cent 
more calories, compared to HIV-negative children, while adults need up to 30 
per cent more calories as the disease progresses.

WFP’s approach to HIV/AIDS focuses on two objectives – improving treatment 
success through nutritional and food support, and reducing the effects of AIDS 
on individuals and their families through sustainable safety nets such as 
household rations, cash transfers or vouchers that can be traded for food.

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