Nutrition is a key component in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Like other medications, the anti-retroviral drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS do not work effectively unless taken with food. The side effects of these powerful drugs can be so severe that patients with empty stomachs often will simply stop taking them.
In the developing world, food can make all the difference for HIV/AIDS patients. With food, their bodies can tolerate the drugs necessary to treat the illness. This allows them to get back on their feet, return to work and support their families. It also allows the children of HIV/AIDS patients to go back to school, since they no longer need to care for their parents at home.
Families who have been affected by the virus often cite food as their greatest need. That is why WFP distributes food to both HIV/AIDS patients and their families. In 2008, WFP provided assistance to 2.4 million people affected by HIV/AIDS. WFP ensures that good nutrition is an integral part of every care package delivered to a person living with HIV/AIDS.
Since its creation in 2003, the President’s Plan for Emergency AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has made enormous strides in bringing anti-retroviral drugs to HIV/AIDS patients in developing countries. Friends of WFP advocates increased nutrition assistance for the world’s poorest individuals suffering from HIV/AIDS.