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Nutritional Issues of HIV/AIDS Orphans in Sagamu South Western, Nigeria
More than 12 million children under the age of 18 years have been orphaned worldwide, as a result of HIV/AIDS, with Nigeria having the largest number of HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa, as more people die from AIDS, the proportion and problems of orphans and vulnerable children will increase. Little is known about the health and nutrition of those HIV/AIDS orphans and inconsistent findings make it difficult to assess if orphans and other vulnerable children have specific nutritional needs. This study investigated nutritional status HIV/AIDS orphans in Sagamu. The study population consisted of fifty seronegative orphans of parents who died as a result of HIV infection and AIDS and fifty seronegative non-orphaned children whose parents were HIV negative who served as control. Nutritional status was assessed anthropometrically and biochemically. Height, weight, mid-upper arm circumference and head circumference were measured in orphans and control. Significant difference (p< 0.05) was obtained in the percentage of children having stunted growth as determined by height-for-age in the orphans 30%, compared to 8% in the control. Also haemoglobin and plasma levels of total protein, albumin, calcium and phosphate were significantly reduced (p< 0.05) in the orphans compared with the control Nutritional status seemed to be compromised in the HIV/AIDS orphaned. Micronutrient profile assessment in a large sample size is suggested.