"Health regains but livelihoods lag": Findings from a study with people on ART in Zambia and Kenya

Overseas Development Institute, ODI, London, UK.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 06/2011; 23(6):748-54. DOI: 10.1080/09540121.2010.532535
Source: PubMed


Although ART is increasingly accessible and eases some stresses, it creates other challenges including the importance of food security to enhance ART-effectiveness. This paper explores the role livelihood strategies play in achieving food security and maintaining nutritional status among ART patients in Kenya and Zambia. Ongoing quantitative studies exploring adherence to ART in Mombasa, Kenya (n=118) and in Lusaka, Zambia (n=375) were used to identify the relationship between BMI and adherence; an additional set of in-depth interviews with people on ART (n=32) and members of their livelihood networks (n=64) were undertaken. Existing frameworks and scales for measuring food security and a positive deviance approach was used to analyse data. Findings show the majority of people on ART in Zambia are food insecure; similarly most respondents in both countries report missing meals. Snacking is important for dietary intake, especially in Kenya. Most food is purchased in both countries. Having assets is key for achieving livelihood security in both Kenya and Zambia. Food supplementation is critical to survival and for developing social capital since most is shared amongst family members and others. Whilst family and friends are key to an individual's livelihood network, often more significant for daily survival is proximity to people and the ability to act immediately, characteristics most often found amongst neighbours and tenants. In both countries findings show that with ART health has rebounded but livelihoods lag. Similarly, in both countries respondents with high adherence and high BMI are more self-reliant, have multiple income sources and assets; those with low adherence and low BMI have more tenuous livelihoods and were less likely to have farms/gardens. Food supplementation is, therefore, not a long-term solution. Building on existing livelihood strategies represents an alternative for programme managers and policy-makers as do other strategies including supporting skills and asset accumulation.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Food insecurity, which affects >1 billion people worldwide, is inextricably linked to the HIV epidemic. We present a conceptual framework of the multiple pathways through which food insecurity and HIV/AIDS may be linked at the community, household, and individual levels. Whereas the mechanisms through which HIV/AIDS can cause food insecurity have been fairly well elucidated, the ways in which food insecurity can lead to HIV are less well understood. We argue that there are nutritional, mental health, and behavioral pathways through which food insecurity leads to HIV acquisition and disease progression. Specifically, food insecurity can lead to macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies, which can affect both vertical and horizontal transmission of HIV, and can also contribute to immunologic decline and increased morbidity and mortality among those already infected. Food insecurity can have mental health consequences, such as depression and increased drug abuse, which, in turn, contribute to HIV transmission risk and incomplete HIV viral load suppression, increased probability of AIDS-defining illness, and AIDS-related mortality among HIV-infected individuals. As a result of the inability to procure food in socially or personally acceptable ways, food insecurity also contributes to risky sexual practices and enhanced HIV transmission, as well as to antiretroviral therapy nonadherence, treatment interruptions, and missed clinic visits, which are strong determinants of worse HIV health outcomes. More research on the relative importance of each of these pathways is warranted because effective interventions to reduce food insecurity and HIV depend on a rigorous understanding of these multifaceted relationships.
    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 11/2011; 94(6):1729S-1739S. DOI:10.3945/ajcn.111.012070 · 6.77 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:: To investigate whether time on antiretroviral therapy (ART) is associated with improvements in food security and nutritional status, and the extent to which associations are mediated by improved physical health status. DESIGN:: The Uganda AIDS Rural Treatment Outcomes study, a prospective cohort of HIV-infected adults newly initiating ART in Mbarara, Uganda. METHODS:: Participants initiating ART underwent quarterly structured interview and blood draws. The primary explanatory variable was time on ART, constructed as a set of binary variables for each 3-month period. Outcomes were food insecurity, nutritional status, and PHS. We fit multiple regression models with cluster-correlated robust estimates of variance to account for within-person dependence of observations over time, and analyses were adjusted for clinical and sociodemographic characteristics. RESULTS:: Two hundred twenty-eight ART-naive participants were followed for up to 3 years, and 41% were severely food insecure at baseline. The mean food insecurity score progressively declined (test for linear trend P < 0.0001), beginning with the second quarter (b = -1.6; 95% confidence interval: -2.7 to -0.45) and ending with the final quarter (b = -6.4; 95% confidence interval: -10.3 to -2.5). PHS and nutritional status improved in a linear fashion over study follow-up (P < 0.001). Inclusion of PHS in the regression model attenuated the relationship between ART duration and food security. CONCLUSIONS:: Among HIV-infected individuals in Uganda, food insecurity decreased and nutritional status and PHS improved over time after initiation of ART. Changes in food insecurity were partially explained by improvements in PHS. These data support early initiation of ART in resource-poor settings before decline in functional status to prevent worsening food insecurity and its detrimental effects on HIV treatment outcomes.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 06/2012; 61(2):179-186. DOI:10.1097/QAI.0b013e318261f064 · 4.56 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Health and development organizations increasingly promote livelihood interventions to improve health and economic outcomes for people living with HIV (PLHIV) receiving treatment with antiretroviral therapy (ART). In-depth understanding about how PLHIV make labor decisions in the context of treatment for HIV - and treatment decisions in the context of their livelihoods - is essential to guiding intervention design and developing hypotheses for future research on livelihoods and ART. However, few studies have explored the perspectives of PLHIV regarding integration of livelihoods and ART in urban, resource-limited settings. Qualitative interviews explored the livelihood experiences of food insecure ART patients in four Bolivian cities (n = 211). Topics included work-related barriers to ART adherence, HIV-related barriers to work, and economic coping mechanisms. Themes were identified using content coding procedures, with two coders to maximize reliability. Participants reported complex economic lives often characterized by multiple economic activities, including both formal and informal labor. They struggled to manage ART treatment and livelihoods simultaneously, and faced a range of interpersonal and structural barriers. In particular, lack of HIV status disclosure, stigma, and discrimination were highly salient issues for study participants and likely to be unique to people with HIV, leading to conflict around requesting time off for clinic visits, resentment from co-workers about time off, and difficulties adhering to medication schedules. In addition, health system issues such as limited clinic hours or drug shortages exacerbated the struggle to balance economic activities with HIV treatment adherence. Improved policy-level efforts to enforce existing anti-discrimination laws, reduce HIV-related stigma, and expand health services accessibility could mitigate many of the barriers discussed by our participants, improve adherence, and reduce the need for livelihoods interventions.
    PLoS ONE 04/2013; 8(4):e61935. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0061935 · 3.23 Impact Factor
Show more