|Title||Public health nutrition intervention to delay the progression of HIV to AIDS among people living with HIV (PLWHIV) in Abuja, Nigeria|
Introduction: HIV/AIDS is a pandemic disease and its scourge has had a devastating impact on health, nutrition, food security and overall socioeconomic development in countries that have been greatly affected by the disease. The engagement of HIV/AIDS with under nutrition form a symbiotic relationship and one increases the prevalence and severity of the other.
Aim: The main goal of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of public health-nutrition intervention programme designed to attenuate the progression of HIV to AIDS among people living with HIV in Abuja, Nigeria.
Methods: Local foods, which were known for their availability, accessibility, micro and macronutrient strengths were selected and optimised into a nutritional functional meal (Amtewa). 1000 PLWHIV were invited to participate in the research from all the HIV treatment centres in Abuja, Nigeria. Based on the sample size calculation, inclusion and exclusion criteria, 400 participants (adult, male and female from different religious background) were selected through simple randomisation. Out of these 400 participants, 100 were randomly selected for the pilot study. The participants in the pilot study overlapped to form part of the scale-up participants. The effect of daily consumption of Amtewa meal (354.92 kcal/d) for six and twelve months was ascertained through the nutritional status and biochemical indices of the study participants (n=100 pilot and n=400 scale-up interventions) who were/were not taking anti-retroviral drug therapy (ART).
Results: Mean CD4 cell count (cell/mm3) for ART-Test group at baseline and sixth months increased by 12.12%. Mean mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) (cm) also increased by 2.52% within the same period (n=400). On the contrary, there were decreases in control groups of 14.9% CD4 count and 2.28% MUAC. Student‘s t-test analysis suggests a strong association between the intervention meal and mean CD4 count (It increased by 54.40 cells/mm3 in the ART Test group (p=0.05)) on prolong use of Amtewa (up to 12 months).
Conclusion: These results ascertained the effectiveness of Amtewa meal on health status of HIV infected subjects and also underpinned its significant position within the National Health Services framework as innovative nutritional approach to delay the progression of HIV to AIDS in Nigeria.