HIV/AIDS Fueling Food Shortages in Southern Africa
The spread of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa is undermining an improved harvest this year, which further fuels food shortages in the region, where about three million people need food aid, the World Food Program announced on Wednesday, Reuters South Africa reports (Reuters South Africa, 6/28). According to WFP, nine of the 10 countries with the highest "burdens" of HIV/AIDS are in Southern Africa, and many people living with the disease are too ill to harvest or work. Families affected by HIV/AIDS usually spend their money on treatment or funerals and often cannot afford, according to WFP (WFP release, 6/28). WFP Director James Morris said although improved rainfall and increased availability of seeds and fertilizer have increased harvests in the region this year, the HIV/AIDS epidemic undercuts those achievements. "[A]s long as HIV/AIDS remains at such epic proportions throughout Southern Africa, a large number of people will face severe hardship unless international assistance is provided," Morris said (Reuters South Africa, 6/28). He also said, "Food and good nutrition are crucial in battling against HIV/AIDS, but it is very tough to convince the international community of the complexity and depth of the pandemic in this region" (WFP release, 6/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.