Impact of HIV and AIDS on household food and nutrition security in Suba District, Kenya
AbstractThe impact of HIV/AIDS on household food and nutrition security in Suba district was studied in a quasi longitudinal study. Households with People Living with HIV/AIDS (Index- 25%) and three surrounding households (control- 75%) were considered for the study. Data were collected on demographic characteristics of the households, land ownership, cultivated land by crop, crop yield, livestock kept by category, diet composition, frequency of hunger, experience of weight loss in the households and expenditure on food. Categorization among the index households was
based on disease progression stages: Stage 1(with no symptoms), Stage 2 (Symptomatic-(CD4>200, CD4 <200) and on antiretroviral, Stage 3( bedridden patients), and Stage 4 (households with HIV related deaths). Results showed households with bedridden members had the highest land ownership of more than 3 acres (62 per cent), while those with CD4 < 200 and on ARVs had the least land (28 per cent). The proportion of index households with uncultivated land was 3 times higher than control households. Index households significantly planted less maize but
equally planted beans, sorghum/millet, cassava, groundnuts and tomatoes, whose yields were comparatively less. Control (non index) households kept more goats, sheep, cattle and chicken than index households. Households that had suffered HIV related deaths had lower overall rate of expenditure on food due to reduction in
household income. Death increased household consumption of home produced food partially making up for the lost income. The incidence of hunger was found to be slightly higher among the controls with chronically ill (65 per cent) than among index households (63 per cent). Eating of non balanced food and loss of weight in the last one month was significantly higher in index than non index households. The mean expenditure on food was also less in index (8.5 US $) than non index households (9.2
US $). It is imperative, therefore, that appropriate intervention measures be put in place to combat food and nutrition insecurity among People Living with HIV/AIDS and their families in order for them to benefit from the life prolonging effects of ARVs.
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