Food assistance is associated with improved body mass index, food security and attendance at clinic in an HIV program in central Haiti: A prospective observational cohort study

  • Ivers L
  • Chang Y
  • Gregory Jerome J
 et al. 
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BACKGROUND: Few data are available to guide programmatic solutions to the overlapping problems of undernutrition and HIV infection. We evaluated the impact of food assistance on patient outcomes in a comprehensive HIV program in central Haiti in a prospective observational cohort study.

METHODS: Adults with HIV infection were eligible for monthly food rations if they had any one of: tuberculosis, body mass index (BMI)
RESULTS: At 6- and 12-month time-points, 488 and 340 subjects were eligible for analysis. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that at 6 months, food security significantly improved in those who received food assistance versus who did not (-3.55 vs -0.16; P < 0.0001); BMI decreased significantly less in the food assistance group than in the non-food group (-0.20 vs -0.66; P = 0.020). At 12 months, food assistance was associated with improved food security (-3.49 vs -1.89, P = 0.011) and BMI (0.22 vs -0.67, P = 0.036). Food assistance was associated with improved adherence to monthly clinic visits at both 6 (P < 0.001) and 12 months (P = 0.033).

CONCLUSIONS: Food assistance was associated with improved food security, increased BMI, and improved adherence to clinic visits at 6 and 12 months among people living with HIV in Haiti and should be part of routine care where HIV and food insecurity overlap.

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