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Tufts University doctor: 'Food security goes hand-in-hand with quality HIV care'

At the recent Chennai ART symposium, Tufts University School of Medicine's Division of Nutrition and Infection director Dr. Christine Wanke presented her findings, which largely backed up the claim that regions experiencing food insecurity are less likely to reap the benefits of HIV treatment.

Wanke explained that improper nutrition compromises the functioning of viral suppression and lowers CD4 count, which is linked to increased mortality rates among those with HIV, ReliefWeb reports.

"Food insecurity might [be] present in different forms in different people, which may include macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies, [antiretroviral therapy] ART interactions, obesity, lipodystrophy, a range of mental health concerns, and more importantly, behavioral outcomes that can adversely impact ART adherence, missed clinic visits and treatment interruptions," the news source reports.

Wanke also referenced studies that have evaluated populations of HIV-positive people to find that those with HIV are more frequently food insecure than those without the virus, according to the news source.

According to the FAO, HIV also threatens food productions in agriculture-driven regions, such as those in Africa, due to a depletion of farmers and food producers.
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