HIV/AIDS and Nutrition

At international AIDS conference, researchers seek to enhance evidence and impact
July 14, 2010

Nutrition security, a fundamental human right, is being compromised by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. Efforts to respond by integrating food and nutrition with other interventions have proliferated but evidence of their effectiveness from countries with significant overlap of malnutrition and HIV is only now emerging.

IFPRI and its partners in RENEWAL, the Regional Network on AIDS, Livelihoods, and Food Security, will review the evidence and explore ways to enhance the impact of such interventions on July 18, on the sidelines of the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria. The event is scheduled for 1:30-3:30 PM in Mini Room 4.

Participants also will assess the extent to which scientific evidence has been brought to bear on policies and programs, and analyze challenges and priorities for the evidence-based expansion of programs designed to help people living with or affected by HIV.

Among confirmed speakers, Mickey Chopra, chief of health and associate director of programs at UNICEF, will review programs designed to improve nutrition among infants and young children. Jacqueline Oduol, secretary of child affairs in Kenya’s Ministry of Gender and Child Affairs, will relate her country’s experience in providing social protection for children affected by AIDS. The session will be co-chaired by Stuart Gillespie, RENEWAL director and IFPRI senior research fellow, and Suneetha Kadiyala, a research fellow in IFPRI’s Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division.

In Africa as elsewhere, agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the majority of people affected by HIV/AIDS. Agriculture is particularly threatened by the epidemic, which reduces the ability of affected households, particularly poor ones, to feed themselves.

RENEWAL is a “network of networks” active in five Sub-Saharan African countries: Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. Now in its tenth year, it comprises national networks of public, private, and non-governmental organizations working on food and nutrition, AIDS, and public health.