Dietary intake, morbidity and nutrition status of HIV-infected women attending patients support centers in Suba District, Kenya
Situma, Jane Naliaka
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The HIV/AIDS epidemic has become a serious health and development problem in subSaharan Africa. This is particularly true in Western Kenya where it exacerbates poverty by decreasing agricultural production, food and nutrition security especially in HIV/AIDS affected households. The purpose of this study was to assess dietary intake, health and nutrition status of HIV infected women attending patients support centers in Suba District. The objectives of the study were; to determine demographic characteristics of HIV - infected women, assess their dietary intake, assess their nutrition status, determine prevalence of morbidity among them, determine household food sharing dynamics and other issues affecting their nutrition and determine whether there is any relationships between demographic characteristics, dietary intake, morbidity and nutrition status. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive study. Two patient support centers; Suba district hospital patient support centre and Mbita health centre patient support centre were used to identify HIV infected women included in the study. All HIV- infected women were eligible for the study. Data were collected between June and July 2006. A total of 191 women were sampled using Proportionate sampling and systematic random sampling methods. A structured questionnaire and observation checklist were used to collect data. Anthropometric measurements, prevalence of morbidity, socio-economic and demographic characteristics were collected. Data obtained were then coded, edited and analyzed. Statistical Package for Social Sciences was used to analyze descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Anthropometric data were analyzed using EPI Info. Chi-square tests were used to determine the relationships between the dependent and independent variables at 0.05 level of significance. The results showed that 41.9% of the women were widowed. The mean daily caloric intake was 1378 kilocalories where protein intake as a percentage of caloric intakes was 17.4% while carbohydrate intake was 45.6% and fat was 37%. Caloric intake was deficient in more than 90% of the HIVinfected women. Presence of illness such as malaria, gastro-intestinal and respiratory infections among respondents was 66.4 %. Majority (97.9%) of respondents did not have any cultural beliefs and taboos about food. Basing on BMI, 46% of the HIV- infected women were at nutritional risk. There was statistically significant relationship between dietary intake and nutrition status (p=0.025) at 0.05 level of significant. There was no statistically significant relationship (p=0.453) between morbidity and nutrition status; nutrition status and household food sharing dynamics, cultural beliefs and taboos at 0.05 level of significant among the HIV infected women attending patient support centers in Suba district. There is need to encourage and support good nutrition and proper health care support among the PLWHA. The study findings are useful in planning and implementing interventions that aim at improving health and nutrition status of HIV - infected women.