Overview

The HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to have devastating impact on health, nutrition, food security and overall socioeconomic development in countries, like Zambia, that have been most seriously affected by the disease. Food and nutrition interventions are critical in HIV and AIDS continuum of care as they contribute to enhancement of the quality of life, prolong the survival rates of those infected and improve productivity. HIV causes or aggravates under-nutrition through reduced food intake and poor nutrient absorption which increases susceptibility to opportunistic infections. Poor nutrition also reduces adherence to and the effectiveness of antiretroviral therapy (ART).

 

A massive effort is needed to cushion the impact of the epidemic, and nutritional care and support should be an essential element of any action taken to combat the scourge of HIV. Through the nutrition and HIV program, nutritionists, dieticians and other health care professionals in the country work to address multiple aspects of HIV infection and treatment to improve survival, overall quality of life and incorporate nutrition messages in the care  and support package for people living with HIV.

Situation Analysis

In Zambia 13% of adults age 15-49 are infected with HIV of which 15% are women and 11% are men. HIV prevalence increases with age, peaking at 23% in the 40-44% age group and declines thereafter. A comparison of the HIV prevalence estimates from 2002, 2009 and 2014 surveys by the Zambia Demographic Health Survey indicates that HIV prevalence among adults in Zambia has decreased over time from 16% in 2002 to 13% in 2014. Unfortunately, there is insufficient information on the nutritional status of PLHIV and this constraints providing proper guidance. However, its integration in HIV treatment, care and support is merely seen as optional rather than mandatory part of the package.

Program Objectives

By 2015, the food and nutrition component in HIV treatment, care and support will have been integrated and strengthened, with special focus on HIV positive pregnant and lactating women and HIV-positive infants and children.

Program Activities

The Government of the Republic of Zambia supports the care and support for people living with HIV (PLHIV) that includes antiretroviral therapy (ART). Hospitals and clinics treat patients on ART. PLWHIV also receive support from the communities through community based structures.

 

Actions and investments to improve nutrition are based on the efforts made towards the work done in the areas of; macronutrients and HIV, micronutrients and HIV, nutrition and antiretroviral therapy, infant feeding in the context of HIV, nutrition of the pregnant and lactating women living with HIV and, growth of children living with HIV to combat scourge.

 

Zambia has developed the guidelines for people living with HIV, the training package for both health workers and community volunteers. These are standards for the country in that whoever wants to implement any programme in this area should use the government documents and follow the guidelines stipulated.

Partners

Ministry of Community Development Mother and Child Health, Ministry of Health, NZP+, USAID supportive projects, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, National AIDS Council, Catholic Relief Services.

 

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