Food prices and the HIV response: findings from rapid regional assessments in eastern and southern Africa in 2008 uri icon

abstract

  • Undernutrition and food insecurity play a pivotal role in the AIDS epidemics of eastern and southern Africa, affecting both risks of HIV transmission and the subsequent AIDS-related impacts. The response to such epidemics thus needs to be comprehensive in focusing on broad-based approaches to prevention, treatment and care, and mitigation, as well as interventions to improve nutritional status and food security. This paper synthesizes the findings of two rapid regional assessments of the impact of high food prices on people living with HIV and on the regional response to AIDS epidemics. Food and economic crises, whether driven by rising food prices or other factors, exacerbate and intensify the vicious cycles that play out between HIV, food insecurity and malnutrition-rendering it more difficult, as well as more important, to effectively and sustainably integrate responses to HIV and hunger. To stimulate better understanding and response, there is need to establish a platform for regular media/public discussions on these issues at national and regional levels as has been done on prevention and anti-retroviral therapy (ART) issues in the past. Such a move would help raise awareness and sustain interest and action on the HIV-hunger nexus. Networks of people living with HIV (PLHIV), NGOs, UN agencies and research bodies can take leading roles in this area to ensure that governments and donors are responsive to food crises, and to ensure that vulnerable groups have a voice, and their concerns are heard. Ultimately, national governments, donors and international organizations now need to go beyond lip service and statements of commitment to properly fund and support multisectoral programming which sustainably incorporates integrated HIV, food and nutrition responses.

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009
  • 2009