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Enhancing nutrition

Two major responses can address nutrition issues in the HIV/AIDS context: improving the nutrition status of people living with HIV/AIDS; and protecting the food security and nutrition in HIV/AIDS-affected households.

Good nutrition helps those who are infected to extend the period during which they are socially and economically active and able to support other family members. Maintaining or improving nutrition means: having a balanced and varied diet; maintaining weight and eating regularly; staying active and taking sufficient rest; and stimulating the appetite and thus the immune system.

For HIV/AIDS-affected households, strengthening their livelihoods has a direct impact on the nutrition status of orphans, vulnerable children and people living with HIV/AIDS. Two important elements must be addressed, including strengthening the capacity of local institutions to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on household food security and nutrition, and providing assistance to HIV/AIDS-affected communities and households. This assistance can take several forms: livelihood support; strengthening community-level care systems; and providing nutritional care for parents, caretakers and children with HIV/AIDS.

The well-being of the children must also be addressed by increasing their access to basic education, life skills and vocational training opportunities through a mix of formal and informal education. This is not only important to their short-term survival, but also to their long-term prospects of food, nutrition and livelihood security.

related links
HIV/AIDS and nutrition: helping families and communities to cope
Zambia: Helping AIDS orphans help themselves
food is the first medicine for AIDS
Feeding hope. Nutrition plays a key role in HIV/AIDS care
A manual on nutritional care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS
nutrition and weight maintenance
HIV/AIDS and nutrition: a review of the literature and recommendations for nutritional care and support in sub-Saharan Africa (pdf)
FAO Food and Nutrition Division
more FAO publications

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