Food Shortages Pose Obstacles to HIV Treatment in Mozambique
August 13, 2008
Although antiretroviral medications are provided at no cost in Mozambique and access to the drugs is "relatively easy," large numbers of HIV-positive Mozambicans are dropping out of treatment programs because of a lack of food, Medecins Sans Frontieres said recently, IRIN/Plus News reports.
In Mozambique, 16% of the population of 21 million people is HIV-positive, and more than 300,000 people experience severe food insecurity. According to Mozambique's Department of Health, of the 88,000 adults and 6,000 children taking antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2007, only 9.7% were receiving food aid. "Talking about nutrition in Mozambique is extremely complex, because the question of lack of food does not only affect HIV-positive patients," Amos Sibambo -- an advocate from the National Network of Associations of People Living with HIV/AIDS, or Rensida -- said. Sibambo emphasized the need for the government and civil society to understand the importance of nutrition for people living with HIV and to take action to address these issues. Rensida plans to raise awareness of these topics on World Food Day, scheduled for Oct. 16, by organizing lectures by nutritionists and presentations on specific diets for people living with HIV (IRIN/Plus News, 8/11).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.