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Perceptions of Food-insecure HIV-positive Adults Participating in a Food Supplementation Program in Central Kenya
Abstract

Abstract:

Malnutrition coexists with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Food supplementation is recommended for food-insecure, HIV-positive individuals. This study was part of a larger six-month food supplementation program for adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) in central Kenya. We conducted 10 focus group interviews with program participants to examine the perceptions of participants regarding the food supplementation program. Focus group transcripts were analyzed for themes and six were identified. These were perception of food insecurity and the health of the participants, the benefits of participating, use of the food, coping strategies after the program ended, suggestions for improving the program, and sustainability of the benefits. Participants perceived that the food improved their health and ART adherence, and reduced stigma. The improvements were not always sustained. Sharing with people beyond the immediate family was very common, depleting the food available to the participants. Interventions with sustainable effects for food-insecure, HIV-positive individuals and their families are needed.