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What is AIDS?


Within the UN system, FAO has a special responsibility for food security and rural development. Its main mandate is to raise levels of nutrition and standards of living, to improve agricultural productivity and to better the condition of rural populations.

HIV/AIDS has a severe impact on food security, affecting all of its dimensions - availability, stability, access, utilization. The epidemic is taking back years of slowly earned progress in rural development, while it is causing significant increases in rural poverty and destitution in the most affected countries.

FAO's focus on HIV/AIDS is on the prevention of the further spread of the epidemic and on the mitigation of its effects through a concerted response from the agricultural sector. FAO recognizes that HIV/AIDS is a determining factor of food insecurity as well as a consequence of food and nutrition insecurity.

Since 1988 FAO has been studying the impact of HIV/AIDS on agriculture, food security, nutrition and farming systems. In recent years, FAO's role in combating AIDS has become even more critical due to the fact that the epidemic creates a significant institutional capacity gap in the affected countries especially as regards agricultural staff and service organizations, national agricultural research organizations and institutions in higher education and training, as well as in local informal institutions.

FAO has been mandated by its main governing bodies to monitor the impact of HIV/AIDS on food security as well as to support member countries in their efforts to prevent the worsening of the epidemic and to mitigate its negative effects on food security and nutrition. All technical departments, as well as some regional and sub-regional offices are developing relevant activities in their own areas of work.

key facts

FAO’s main activities include:
incorporating HIV/AIDS into all programmes; assessing impacts on food security; assisting countries to cope with the pandemic

in 1999 FAO and UNAIDS formally agree to work together in the fight against AIDS

in 2001 FAO, WFP, IFAD and UNAIDS organise a technical meeting to identify agricultural sector strategies

  contact:   © FAO, 2006