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On World AIDS Day, WFP's Food And Nutrition Support Keeps People Living With HIV Healthy

From WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin

ROME – Proper food and good nutrition can keep people living with HIV healthy and improve the effectiveness of their treatment. On World AIDS Day (1 December) this year, the World Food Programme (WFP) is proud to play a role in the tremendous progress made in the battle against HIV/AIDS in recent years.

In 2012, WFP supported more than 1.5 million people in 33 countries through its HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) programmes.

According to the UNAIDS 2013 Report, 35.3 million people live with HIV worldwide, 25 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the clear success of anti-retroviral treatment, one third of those who begin treatment are no longer following it three years later.  WFP’s food and nutrition assistance is an essential and cost-effective way to encourage people to start and stick to anti-retroviral treatment.  

Sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region. Last year, in Ethiopia we reached 375,000 food insecure and malnourished people living with HIV through direct support to patients and linking them to economic strengthening activities. Their families also received food and nutrition assistance. In Zimbabwe, nearly 409,000 people received nutrition support and in Mozambique, 210,000 people benefited from WFP’s programmes.  In Swaziland, where around a quarter of the adult population is HIV-positive, we provide meals to volunteer-run neighbourhood centres to lessen the impact of HIV/AIDS on the youngest and most vulnerable children, including orphans.

To win the battle against HIV, I believe partnerships are essential. WFP is one of 11 co-sponsors of UNAIDS, a UN Joint Programme that works to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Within UNAIDS, WFP is responsible for integrating food and nutrition into the HIV response. We work together with UNHCR to coordinate the HIV response in humanitarian emergencies. And WFP has recently forged a new partnership with UNFPA in which we add a nutrition component to UNFPA’s Adolescent Girls Initiative.


For more information please contact (email address:
Elisabeth Byrs, WFP/Geneva, Tel. +41 22 917 8564, Mob. +41 79 473 4570
Bettina Luescher, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-5566909, Mob.  +1-646-8241112
Steve Taravella, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1 202 6531149, Mob. +1 202 770 5993
Gregory Barrow, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 20 72409001, Mob.  +44 7968 008474
Emilia Casella, WFP/Rome, Tel. +39 06 6513 3854, Mob. +39 347 9450634