Influence of Food Supplements on Testing for HIV and Aids and Adhering to Treatment in a Resource Poor Rural Setting: A Case of Chivuna, Southern Zambia
Science Journal of Public Health
Volume 3, Issue 3, May 2015, Pages: 314-320
Received: Mar. 6, 2015; Accepted: Mar. 31, 2015; Published: Apr. 10, 2015
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Harriet Ntalasha, The University of Zambia, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lusaka, Zambia
Jacob R. S. Malungo, The University of Zambia, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lusaka, Zambia
Sonja Merten, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, Socinstrasse 57, Basel CH-4002, Switzerland
Simona J. Simona, The University of Zambia, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lusaka, Zambia
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Background: There is a serious dearth of literature, particularly on Zambia, on the influential role of food supplements on people’s decision to take up an HIV test, start and adhere to AIDS treatment. Methods: Using data from a large ethnographic qualitative study in a resource poor rural setting in Zambia, this paper examines and documents the critical role of food supplements in influencing people to go for HIV testing, initiate treatment and stick to it. Results: Findings show that people who felt food insecure were reluctant to go for a test, thereby not accessing treatment and care services. The narratives revealed numerous aspects of food supplements, HIV testing, ART uptake and adherence, including desire to have access to food due to food insecurity, hoping and wishing to be found positive to access food, envying the HIV positive accessing food, desiring to have physical transformation and healthy-looking bodies enabled by increased access to food, reluctance and avoidance of taking the drugs without food, and worries about food once on medication. Conclusion: The study has shown a close link between food supplements, willingness to test, start taking medication and adherence. Therefore, food supplements should be made an integral part of HIV and AIDS related services in resource poor settings. This means devising more sustainable cross-sectional approaches to foster food security and general livelihoods, such as initiation of income generating activities among vulnerable rural poor, particularly those living with HIV and AIDS.
Zambia, HIV and AIDS, Food Supplements, HIV Testing, Adherence, ART
To cite this article
Harriet Ntalasha, Jacob R. S. Malungo, Sonja Merten, Simona J. Simona, Influence of Food Supplements on Testing for HIV and Aids and Adhering to Treatment in a Resource Poor Rural Setting: A Case of Chivuna, Southern Zambia, Science Journal of Public Health. Vol. 3, No. 3, 2015, pp. 314-320. doi: 10.11648/j.sjph.20150303.13
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