Hunger and AIDS often coexist and interact: malnutrition and food insecurity heighten susceptibility to HIV exposure and infection, while AIDS in turn exacerbates hunger and malnutrition. High food prices aggravate this vicious cycle, overlaying an acute crisis onto a chronic one.
AIDS has been a serious food security issue in many African countries, especially in southern Africa, for years before the 2008 spike in prices. The disease strikes people in their prime, when they would normally be working the land and raising food. The dramatic rise in food costs will make people, especially women, more vulnerable to the virus, hinder the effective care and treatment of people living with HIV, and exacerbate the many negative consequences of the epidemic.