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Rethinking food aid to fight AIDS

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While the realization that AIDS is far more than a health problem has dawned only recently, many development organizations have yet to undertake thorough analyses of what this means for what they do, and how they do it. Even fewer have actually changed their policies and procedures to adjust to these new realities. We know that food and nutrition are fundamentally intertwined with HIV transmission and the impacts of AIDS. Food and nutrition security is fundamentally relevant to all four of the conventional pillars of HIV/AIDS response—prevention, care, treatment, and mitigation—and food aid can be an important weapon in the arsenal. This paper, based on a detailed review of the relevant literature and the findings of a mission to eastern and southern Africa, highlights the implications of the HIV/AIDS pandemic for food aid strategy and programming. By viewing food aid programs through an "HIV/AIDS lens" and in the context of a livelihoods approach, the authors argue that organizations can effectively design interventions that reduce both susceptibility to HIV and vulnerability to AIDS impacts. Though there is little empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of food aid in responding to HIV/AIDS, the authors argue that this should not constrain action. Using past experience as a guide, organizations can learn by doing, documenting, and continually reassessing their programs using the evolving lens, so as to ensure maximal relevance and impact.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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