The World Food Programme (WFP) today marks World AIDS Day by emphasizing the importance of providing food and nutrition support to people living with HIV and their families.
ROME-- “Poor nutritional status and HIV can reinforce each other in a vicious circle,” said Martin Bloem, WFP’s chief of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Policy. “WFP works with communities and health centres around the world to ensure that people affected by HIV and AIDS receive comprehensive support that nourishes and strengthens their bodies.”
In 2010, WFP supported 2.5 million people in 44 countries through its HIV and TB programmes, providing food and nutrition support to some 1.3 million people living with HIV as part of their antiretroviral treatment (ART) or TB treatment and another 1.2 million people affected by these diseases. In 2011, WFP aims to reach about the same number of people.
Food support, nutrition counselling and education activities encourage successful treatment and nutritional recovery for people living with HIV and help to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Participants in WFP’s Food by Prescription activities receive nutritious food, including fortified blended foods like the corn-soya-based Super Cereal and ready-to-use foods like the peanut-based Plumpy’doz.
WFP seeks to lessen the socio-economic impacts of HIV by providing social safety nets for food insecure, HIV-affected households and other populations, like orphans and vulnerable children. When families receive cash or voucher transfers or food assistance and are given the opportunity to participate in income-generating activities, they are able to increase their own food security and work toward long-term economic recovery.
“By providing the right food to vulnerable populations, WFP promotes good health for patients while protecting their families from the negative impacts of HIV,” said Bloem.
WFP also provides technical support for national programmes. In addition, WFP is a co-sponsor of UNAIDS, a UN partnership that works to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Within the partnership, WFP is responsible for the integration of food and nutrition into the HIV response and, with UNHCR, is responsible for the HIV response in humanitarian emergencies.