XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Household food insecurity among HIV-affected households with infant children in Port au Prince, Haiti

C. Walsh1, R. Heidkamp2, J.W. Pape3

1Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Center for Global Health, New York, United States, 2GHESKIO/ Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences, Ithaca, United States, 3GHESKIO/ Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Port au Prince, Haiti

Background: Household food insecurity is strongly associated with an increased risk of malnutrition in children in resource poor settings. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of over half of young child deaths globally. There are little data on food insecurity levels among HIV affected households with infants. We hypothesized that HIV affected households in Port au Prince, Haiti may have high rates of food insecurity.
Methods: Food insecurity status was assessed for the households of 75 HIV-infected mother-infant pairs at the GHESKIO medical clinic in Port au Prince, Haiti. Assessment utilized the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, a nine question interview tool measuring three dimensions of food security: quality of food, quantity of food, and uncertainty regarding food access. This tool has been validated in Haiti and other resource poor settings. Households were categorized as mildly, moderately, or severely food insecure on a weighted scale.
Results: 80% of the HIV-affected households were found to be severely food insecure, a higher rate than reported previously in Haiti (57%). 77 % of households reported insufficient quantities of food over the past month. 73% reported having no food to eat in the household at times during the past month. 63% of households experienced insufficient quality of food intake. A reduced variety of food intake-which can be associated with micronutrient deficiencies- was reported by 49% of households.
Conclusions: HIV-affected households with infants are characterized by a high degree of food insecurity, both in terms of insufficient quantity and quality of food intake. Food insecurity may be associated with the high rates of malnutrition and mortality seen in children born to HIV-infected mothers in Haiti and other resource poor settings. Attention to nutritional vulnerability should be an integral part of HIV care for HIV-affected households with young children.

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