Role of Nutritional Formulations in Enhancing Immunity among People Living With HIV and AIDS in the Lake Victoria Region: Some Baseline Characteristics
Nyambaka, H. N.
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Management of HIV and AIDS has been on activities such as awareness creation, condom distribution and provision of anti-retroviral therapies (ARTs). Considering that even when available, ARTs pose real challenges with respect to compliance and resistance and that they sometimes adversely affect HIV and AIDS patients, nutritional compliments and alternatives are increasingly being researched with an aim of optimizing management of this disease. This study is evaluating the role of indigenous food formulations in management of HI and AIDS in the Lake Victoria Basin. One hundred twenty eight (128) subjects from the (Rural Education and Economic Enhancement Programme (REEP) were identified and participated in a baseline review at the REEP offices in Butula to determine their nutritional, clinical, haematological and immunological characteristics. Only subjects confirmed to be HIV-seropositive were considered for this report and the on-going randomized controlled nutritional intervention study. Most of the subjects (54.7%) were aged 36-54 years while 39% were in 18-35 years group. Seventy nine (79%) of female and 65% of male had normal weight (BI range of 18-25 kg/m2). Haematologically, 63% of female and 47% of male were anaemic as 56% of male and 71% of female had over 500 CD4+ cells. The mean CD4+ cell count for males and females was 725 +396 and 794 +466 cell/mm, respectively. Although the study subjects were of comparable nutritional parameters, female subjects had much lowered immunological characteristics than males. We anticipate that the nutritional supplements proposed for the intervention phase of this study will impact favourably on their status. The study will address nutritional deficiencies and disorders among the study subjects by utilizing locally available foods that are rich in micronutrients. After the project, study subjects and the general population will be counselled on growing and consuming micronutrient-rich foods as the surplus will be used for income generation and poverty alleviation.