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Local and Community News

Michigan Food Bank Battles HIV

August 5, 2002

The Food Bank of Oakland County is attacking hunger along a new front: among people with HIV. The food bank oversees Michigan's only series of classes that give people with HIV/AIDS nutritional training as well as hands-on cooking experience. HIV/AIDS patients may go hungry because of medications and chemotherapy that rob them of their appetites and often, the strength to cook for themselves. The Operation Frontline program, developed by a national chefs' charity known as Save Our Strength, teaches participants to use ingredients and techniques meant to stimulate taste buds with food that will strengthen their bodies.

About 1,030 Oakland County residents are living with HIV/AIDS. Statewide, 15,500 people are estimated to have HIV; Oakland County is among the top five counties for HIV infection rates according to the April 2002 figures provided by the Midwest AIDS Prevention Project. In two years, more than 80 people have gone through the classes, said Paul Shull, who coordinates the program with the food bank. The current class of 14 is the largest one to date.

One prime consideration for people with HIV is keeping the immune system strong, explained Barnett. Fighting off infections drains the body of strength, not to mention stored fat, vitamins and minerals. To help meet the challenge, nutritionists recommend that people with HIV turn traditional food wisdom on its ear: Instead of basing a diet on grains and carbohydrates, they should eat more proteins, found in meats, beans and eggs. Fats, though they should be used in small amounts by everyone, may help HIV patients gain or maintain their weight. Participants receive a packet of easy, nutritious recipes they can make at home and also get help planning meals on a budget.

Back to other CDC news for August 5, 2002

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Adapted from:
Detroit News
08.01.02; Janet Vandenabeele

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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