Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Starting antiretroviral therapy improves HIV-infected Africans' nutrition

Date:
October 2, 2012
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
"HIV makes people sicker and, as a result, accessing food becomes progressively more difficult. Antiretroviral therapy makes HIV-infected people feel better and makes them stronger physically -- helping them to improve food security -- in part because they are better able to work and to engage in food-generating activities," a researcher said.

Starting HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral therapy reduces food insecurity and improves physical health, thereby contributing to the disruption of a lethal syndemic, UCSF and Massachusetts General Hospital researchers have found in a study focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

Related Articles


The study was published this week in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

With more than 20 million people infected with HIV/AIDS and almost 240 million people lacking access to enough food, sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing co-epidemics of food insecurity and HIV/AIDS that intensify the vulnerability to and increase the severity of each other, creating a deadly vicious cycle, researchers noted.

Food insecurity enhances the risk of HIV transmission by driving risky sexual behaviors, fostering practices that increase mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and contributing to poor nutrition and micronutrient deficiencies that diminish mucosal integrity and weakens the body's overall ability to resist infection.

For those infected with HIV, food insecurity is associated with higher rates of opportunistic infections, poorer immune responses, declining mental and physical health and higher risk of death. In turn, HIV infection worsens food insecurity due to death and illness of productive family members and increased caregiver burdens. Further, illness and stigma related to HIV/AIDS can make finding and performing work harder and diminish social network support for finding food in times of scarcity.

"HIV makes people sicker and, as a result, accessing food becomes progressively more difficult. Antiretroviral therapy makes HIV-infected people feel better and makes them stronger physically -- helping them to improve food security -- in part because they are better able to work and to engage in food-generating activities," said the study's principal investigator, Sheri Weiser, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the UCSF HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center.

The study, conducted in Uganda, followed 228 untreated HIV-infected patients for up to three years. More than 80 percent had some level of food insecurity and more than 40 percent were severely food insecure at baseline. Once therapy was initiated, food insecurity declined and nutritional status and physical status increased in parallel with time on therapy.

"Ideally, we would intervene with therapy early to interrupt this vicious cycle before it starts," said the study's senior author, David R. Bangsberg, MD, MPH, director of the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Along with a study published last year showing a potent prevention benefit from treatment -- HIV-infected participants on therapy reduced their risk of transmitting HIV to their uninfected partners by 96 percent in the study -- these findings provide additional evidence supporting initiating treatment with antiretrovirals as soon as possible after diagnosis, he said.

"In addition to improving health and decreasing HIV transmission, our study adds to the growing evidence that treating with ART is cost-effective by improving health and productivity over the long term," he concluded.

While antiretroviral therapy is necessary, it is not sufficient for reversing the negative impacts of food insecurity, said Weiser. Many HIV-infected patients on therapy still struggle with food insecurity, which is prevalent at high rates not only for our patients, but also for the population in general.

"We have also shown in other work that food insecurity leads to worse outcomes for HIV-infected patients," added Weiser. Weiser and Bangsberg concluded that to best address these overlapping epidemics, programs targeting food insecurity should be integrated into HIV treatment programs.

Co-authors include Reshma Gupta from the University of Washington, Edward A. Frongillo from the University of South Carolina, Alexander C. Tsai from the Center for Global Health at Massachusetts General Hospital, Elias Kumbakumba and Annet Kawuma from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Peter W. Hunt and Jeffrey Martin from UCSF, and Nils Grede from United Nations World Food Programme.

Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the Tim and Jane Meyer Family Foundation, and the World Food Programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. The original article was written by Jeff Sheehy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sheri D. Weiser et al. Changes in Food Insecurity, Nutritional Status, and Physical Health Status After Antiretroviral Therapy Initiation in Rural Uganda. JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 1 October 2012 - Volume 61 - Issue 2 - p 179%u2013186 DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e318261f064

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Starting antiretroviral therapy improves HIV-infected Africans' nutrition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002145758.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2012, October 2). Starting antiretroviral therapy improves HIV-infected Africans' nutrition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002145758.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Starting antiretroviral therapy improves HIV-infected Africans' nutrition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121002145758.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins