Food Is ‘First Line of Defense’ Against HIV/AIDS in Developing Countries, Opinion Piece Says
Food is the "first line of defense" against HIV/AIDS in resource-poor settings, and it is "imperative" for developed nations to "at least ensure" that people in developing countries receive sufficient food, James Morris, executive director of the World Food Programme, writes in a Washington Times opinion piece. Because there "simply isn't enough financial aid available right now" to provide antiretroviral drugs for all of the people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries, it is important to find other ways to keep HIV-positive people "alive and productive," Morris says. "As a first minimum step," the international community must ensure that HIV-positive people receive basic nutrition, which will enable them "to survive and care for their families as long as possible," Morris says. In addition, improved nutrition can prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission as well as reduce the "likelihood that [people] will resort to high-risk survival strategies -- such as exchanging sex for food or cash," Morris writes. The "cataclysmic confluence" of hunger and AIDS can only be overcome by starting with the "basics," Morris says, adding that the international community "cannot allow the shortage or absence of drugs to become a reason for doing nothing" (Morris, Washington Times, 1/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.