Hunger and AIDS: A Devastating Combination
In recognition of World AIDS Day, the international aid organization Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim or ACF) has released a report highlighting the connection between AIDS and hunger.
The report focuses both on ways that hunger and malnutrition can affect those infected with HIV/AIDS, and the different forms of hunger and malnutrition that HIV/AIDS can leave in its wake. Emphasizing the approaches that ACF has been taking to address both issues, the report is unique in its focus on this new way of looking at both hunger and HIV.
ACF Report: Detailing How Hunger and AIDS Interact
The report's key findings on hunger and AIDS are the following:
- The necessity of nutrition and an adequate diet when treating HIV/AIDS.
- The effects that HIV/AIDS can have on agricultural production.
- The effects that HIV/AIDS can have on food distribution, especially for the children.
- The ways that targeted, culturally sensitive programs can make a difference in education and food distribution.
"The onset of HIV/AIDS has marked a new chapter in the treatment of malnutrition," affirms ACF Executive Director Cathy Skoula. "We cannot ignore the devastating effects these two afflictions have on each other, and must treat both simultaneously in order to break free of their destructive cycle."
ACF's RESPONSE TO AIDS
A key challenge for ACF is to improve the prevention and treatment of malnutrition in Africaand in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, where HIV and AIDS is prevalent.
ACF's strategies to date:
- Focus nutrition, health, and food security programs on better living standards for those infected with HIV/AIDS
- Integrate nutrition as a basic component in the treatment of HIV/AIDS (along with antiretrovirals)
- Encourage the training and involvement of community leaders and people affected by HIV/AIDS in awareness and prevention activities.
- Developing strategies to mitigate the negative effects of HIV/AIDS on agriculture and family finances.
- Monitor the relationship between AIDS and hunger