HIV/AIDS is changing the entire development landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa. Can and should food assistance be used to combat HIV/AIDS? The answer to both questions is an unequivocal “yes.” As people struggle to cope with HIV/AIDS, food usually becomes their main concern. As evidence mounts of the ways in which food and nutrition insecurity may increase both susceptibility to HIV and vulnerability to AIDS’ impacts, and how HIV/AIDS in turn exacerbates food and nutrition insecurity, the involvement of food assistance organizations becomes a moral imperative.
Purpose of This Report
This paper, which draws upon the findings of a World Food Programme (WFP) mission to eastern and southern Africa in March 2002 and a review of relevant literature, highlights the implications of the HIV/AIDS pandemic for food assistance strategy and programming. The authors argue that for food assistance programs to reduce both HIV susceptibility and AIDS-related vulnerability, a new strategic perspective must be adopted—one that places communities and people’s livelihoods at the center of analysis and uses an “HIV/AIDS
lens” to refocus current programs.