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Over the last decade, HIV/AIDS has become increasingly associated with malnutrition and household food insecurity in many countries around the world. Life-prolonging medication exists for HIV/AIDS, but access to such medicines and accompanying care is beyond the reach of most people living with the disease. This is especially the case in countries where the rapid increase in HIV-positive individuals and those affected by HIV/AIDS, such as orphans, is creating additional pressures for communities with already scarce resources. Within this context, a new imperative has emerged: rethinking development strategies and redirecting projects and resources to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on food and livelihood security.

While the need to mitigate the effects of HIV/AIDS is increasingly acknowledged, it is equally important to recognize that food and livelihood security is a key element of prevention. Prevention is usually considered to be the health sector’s responsibility and most commonly involves education and the promotion of safer sexual practices. However, food and livelihood insecurity often leads people into behaviours and strategies that increase their risk of infection, such as migration and prostitution. Improving livelihoods, especially among the most vulnerable groups in society, can provide a concrete way to tackle one of the most fundamental issues behind the spread of HIV.

This guide details how to incorporate HIV/AIDS considerations into food security and livelihood projects with a focus on protecting and promoting nutritional well-being among people living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by the disease. It is intended to be used by people involved in related policy formulation, project management and technical support. The first section outlines the relationship between HIV/AIDS and food, nutrition and livelihood security. The second section discusses how the issues can play a role in the project cycle, and the third section provides a series of key HIV/AIDS-related questions and tools to use during each cycle stage.

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