HIV/AIDS Treatment Efforts Need To Focus More on Nutrition, Opinion Piece States
"Tens of billions of dollars have been pledged to combat AIDS, yet donor countries have largely overlooked the role of nutrition, somehow ignoring both the scientists and the beneficiaries," Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, a United Nations Messenger of Peace and a founding board member of Kofi Annan's Global Humanitarian Forum, writes in a Toronto Globe and Mail opinion piece. She continues, "The donors have been asked for help often enough and there are United Nations and [nongovernmental organization] projects out there to fund, but they are not getting the cash they need to provide good, nutritious food to people" living with HIV/AIDS.
Bint Al Hussein writes, "Micronutrient deficiencies often plague HIV-infected adults and children, and they can only be ended with diversified diets, fortified foods or supplements." She adds, "As food prices soar, poor families are already substituting less-nutritious foods for meat, fish, eggs and vegetables," and the "poorest families are being forced to choose between food and medicine for loved ones."
She notes that some organizations, such as Medecins Sans Frontieres, have begun to promote "food itself as necessary for healing, and not just for those affected by AIDS or tuberculosis."
She concludes, "It is time to change the way we help. Drugs alone are not a solution for AIDS or TB," asking, "What doctor would admit a patient to a hospital, give them the most advanced medications -- and then leave them to starve?" (Bint Al Hussein, Toronto Globe and Mail, 8/1).
Kaisernetwork.org is the official webcaster of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. Click here to sign up for your Daily Update e-mail during the conference. A webcast of an Aug. 3 conference session on food security and HIV/AIDS is available online.