World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization Issue Guide for Health Care Workers, Patients on Nutrition, AIDS
The World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization yesterday released a 97-page guide for health care workers, HIV/AIDS patients and their families detailing the role of nutrition in the progression of the disease, the Associated Press reports. The report, titled "Living Well with HIV/AIDS," offers suggestions to enable people living in resource-poor settings, where drugs and health care may be scarce, to cope with and possibly delay the progression of the virus (Fowler, Associated Press, 2/25). "The relationship between HIV/AIDS and malnutrition is a particularly extreme example of the vicious cycle of immune dysfunction, infectious disease and malnutrition," David Nabarro, WHO executive director for sustainable development and health environments, said. Balanced nutrition can bolster the immune system and boost energy levels, helping the body to fight the disease by preventing malnutrition and maintaining body weight (WHO/FAO release, 2/25). "Food isn't a magic bullet. It won't stop people dying of AIDS. But it can help them live longer, more comfortable and more productive lives," William Clay, a nutrition specialist for FAO, said. The report offers suggestions for combating the loss of appetite and weight loss that often accompany the disease, advising patients to eat more protein to combat the degenerative effect that the virus has on muscles and to eat vitamin-rich foods to boost the body's immune system. The report suggests inexpensive recipes for soups, teas and stews, which are easier for AIDS patients, who often experience soreness of the mouth, to eat. The recipes use foods endemic to rural areas of the developing world, such as guava, papaya and baobab fruit, that are rich in vitamins and nutrients. FAO and WHO are currently running a pilot program of a nutrition training course for health workers in South Africa (Associated Press, 2/25). The organizations hope to release a complete course pack including overheads and trainers' and participants' guides in September (WHO/FAO release, 2/25). The full report is available online. A kaisernetwork.org HealthCast of a briefing on famine and HIV/AIDS in Africa, co-sponsored by John Snow, Inc., the Ad Council, the U.N. Foundation, and the Global AIDS Alliance, will be available online after 5 p.m. today. U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis is scheduled to speak at the briefing.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.