https://www.glwd.org/blog/nutrition-hiv-and-aging/

Nutrition, HIV, and Aging

Over the weekend, the New York Times (NYT) published a thought-provoking article entitled People Think It’s Over: Spared Death, People with HIV Struggle to Live. It profiled aging members of the HIV community who are living to see the intersection of the virus and the aging process. Many noted challenges including multiple medical conditions, food insecurity, isolation and depression. Despite the huge strides made in the treatment of HIV, which cannot be overstated, it remains a complex chronic illness that deeply affects a person’s physical and emotional health. The reality is that many people living with HIV are still struggling; the condition has changed, but it is far from over. This resonated for me as I reflected on the population we serve at God’s Love. Nearly 50% of our clients with HIV are 55 years or older. The article also mentioned issues addressed by our food and nutrition program; this prompted me to write a Letter to the Editor of the NYT (unpublished at this time), calling attention to the power of food as medicine in the care of people with HIV.

Here is the letter:

As anyone profiled in ‘People Think It’s Over’ can tell you, life with HIV/AIDS isn’t easy. Poor access to food and nutrition services makes the situation more challenging. Maintaining good nutrition is paramount as many conditions related to HIV and aging are positively affected by nutrition.

Research demonstrates that access to food and nutrition services support successful engagement in health care. The food insecure are less likely to keep medical appointments, take medications and benefit from nutrition’s help in alleviating side effects.

Food and nutrition services reduce isolation. Whether sharing a congregate supper or receiving a home-delivered meal from a caring individual, food brings much more than only nutrients.

In today’s healthcare environment, food and nutrition services are an inexpensive way to maintain optimal health and well-being. These services contribute substantially to improved health outcomes for PLWHA. That’s why, at God’s Love We Deliver, we believe that food is medicine.

Related Blog Posts

+ view all nutrition posts

6.2.22 / Nutrition

Tips to Enjoy Spring and Summer Outdoor Eating

Picnic season is here and what a perfect way to get back out there after COVID to enjoy the warm weather! Important things to consider on your outing are seasonal vegetable options and safe food handling practices. …

5.16.22 / Nutrition

Marking Mental Health Awareness Month

May is a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma many people experience. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to rising rates of depression and anxiety, …