Development and testing of the South African National Nutrition Guidelines for People Living with HIV / AIDS.
Malnutrition is a common consequence of HIV infection, and weight loss is used as a diagnostic criterion for HIV/AIDS. The relationship between HIV/AIDS and malnutrition and wasting is well described, with nutritional status compromised by reduced food intake, malabsorption caused by gastrointestinal involvement, increased nutritional needs as a result of fever and infection, and increased nutrient losses. Malnutrition contributes to the frequency and severity of opportunistic infections seen in HIV/AIDS and nutritional status is a major factor in survival. Failure to maintain body cell mass leads to death at 54% of ideal body weight. The effectiveness of nutrition intervention has been documented and dietary nutrition counselling is considered critical in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, especially in view of the fact that drug treatment is inaccessible to many people living with the virus in Africa. (excerpt)