Effects of food aid on the nutrition adequacy of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Tororo, Uganda
Despite tremendous advances in HIV care and increased funding for treatment, morbidity and mortality from HIV/AIDS remains unacceptably high in developing countries. Food-based approaches, such as food aid ration, have been used as first-line intervention in improving health and welfare of PLWHA. However, limited evidence exists on the potential of food aid on the nutrition of PLWHA. Using dietary diversity, usual individual intakes and nutritional adequacy as measures of dietary and nutritional adequacy, this study assessed food consumption patterns, nutrient intakes as well as contribution of food aid; to the usual intakes and the dietary adequacy of ART and non-ART clients registered in TASO, Tororo. Across-sectional study was implemented among 200 PLWHA TASO clients (18-60 years) who were on a food aid program. Some of the clients were recipients of ART while others were not. There was no difference in either: consumption patterns, dietary diversity and variety, or energy and nutrient intakes - between respondents on ART and those not on ART. Meanwhile, food aid contributed significantly to the energy and other nutrient intakes, considering that nearly two-thirds of the energy, iron, protein and vitamin A were from the food aid. Nearly all respondents were able to meet at least 80% of their RDA for energy and protein; while three-quarter also met at least 80% of their RDA for vitamin A and C. However, only one-quarter of respondents met at least 80% of their RDA for iron. Relative to the RDA, the usual intakes for protein and vitamin C were highly adequate (more than 100%). Further, energy, vitamin A and iron were relatively adequate (74%. 73% and 65% respectively), for all respondents. Also, of the different food groups and the counts of foods consumed, the mean DDS was 5.8 while the mean FVS was 7.1; and the diversity and variability of the usual individual intakes was moderate. In all, positive associations were registered between FVS with iron (p<0.006), vitamin A (p<0.004), and fat (p<0.000). FVS were also associated with protein (p<0.031), and energy (p<0.000). In addition, positive associations were also found between DDS and: iron (p<0.033), vitamin A (p<0.009), fat (p<0.032), and energy (p<0.046). This study provided insights and better understanding of: food consumption patterns of PLWHA; energy, nutrient intakes, and adequacy of PLWHA on ART and non-ART; and the contribution of food aid to usual intakes of PLWHA on a food aid program.