A study conducted in Mbarara and Kampala in Uganda shows that limited or uncertain access to adequate food interrupts or postpones initiation of antiretroviral (ARV) treatment among individuals infected with HIV/AIDS.
According to the study, five mechanisms appear to contribute to ARV non-adherence and treatment interruptions or to postponing ARV initiation:
i) ARVs intensified appetite and led to intolerable hunger in the absence of adequate food;
ii) Side effects of ARVs were aggravated in the absence of adequate food;
iii) Infected individuals believed they should skip doses or not start on ARVs at all if they did not have access to food.
The study concludes that addressing food insecurity as part of emerging ARV treatment programs is critical for their long-term success. There is concern that recent gains in HIV/AIDS treatment not sustainable in the presence of widespread poverty and food insecurity exacerbated by climate change.
I think there is an opportunity here for an innovative convergence in policy formulation for both health and agriculture.
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