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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