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Researchers Examine Relationships Between HIV and Poverty, Food Security in Separate Studies

October 8, 2012

Foreign Policy reports on "a recent study by Ashley Fox of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine [that] compares rates of HIV infection across 170 regions in 16 sub-Saharan African countries." Fox "found that in the poorest regions, it was richer people who were more likely to be infected with HIV, while in wealthier regions, the poor were more at risk," the magazine writes, adding, "The reason, she argues, is that AIDS acts more like a chronic condition, such as obesity, than the infectious disease it is." "In the three decades since it was identified, AIDS has gone through a remarkable socioeconomic mutation, from a condition closely identified with gay men in urban areas of the United States to one synonymous with poverty in the developing world," Foreign Policy continues, adding, "Fox's data suggest that despite more than 30 million deaths over the past 30-odd years, it's still a disease we don't understand very well" (Keating, November 2012).

Another study on HIV and poverty-related issue of hunger, led by Sheri Weiser, an assistant professor of medicine at the HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and David Bangsberg, director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, "says Africa suffers from a co-epidemic of HIV/AIDS and food insecurity," VOA News reports, noting, "Researchers say treatment and better nutrition go hand-in-hand in controlling the epidemic." According to the news service, "A person infected by HIV is further weakened by poor nutrition," and "[t]he cycle continues when people get sicker and they are unable to find a job to buy food." Bangsberg and Weiser "warn ... that the dual issue of HIV and food insecurity is not just an African problem," VOA writes, noting they "are sharing their findings with U.N. humanitarian agencies and officials from PEPFAR" (DeCapua, 10/5).

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