Friday, April 24, 2009

KENYA: HIV-positive people feeling the pinch of high food prices

Source: IRIN/PlusNews
The following are direct quotes from the article:

*Soaring food prices are beginning to affect the health of HIV-positive people in Kenya.

*"The success of ARV drugs is no more; many patients are suffering seriously,"...They have developed health complications because they cannot afford basic food, leave alone a balanced diet."

*According to the UNAIDS,
adequate nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining the immune systems of people living with HIV and AIDS, as well as helping to ensure that those on treatment get the maximum benefits from antiretroviral (ARV) treatment.

*The latest humanitarian food update by the UN...Kenya could expect a food deficit as a result of global food shortages, increased food prices and reduced production, compounded by poor rains and the displacement of people...

*Rama said families had been forced to increase spending on food to ensure their HIV-positive family members had a balanced diet, at the expense of other essential requirements like their children's education...
some of the poorer HIV/AIDS patients had begun rejecting free life-prolonging ARV medication because of the side effects of taking the drugs on an empty stomach.

*Mary is afraid her chances of living much longer are being compromised by the food shortages. "I have developed many health problems in the past three months. I had malaria, pneumonia and now I have TB [tuberculosis]; I can no longer wash people's clothes to feed my three children," said the mother of three who tested HIV-positive three years ago.

*...high food prices were also affecting HIV prevention efforts, because girls and women were being forced into commercial sex work to feed themselves and their families. "Food insecurity has been one of the major factors responsible for HIV/AIDS cases in northern Kenya," he said. "It is worse now, and we fear that many girls and women will fall victim to the virus now."

Click here to read the full article.

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