Background: Malnutrition has a negative impact on optimal immune function, thus increasing susceptibility to morbidity and mortality among HIV positive patients. Evidence indicates that the prevalence of macro and micronutrient deficiencies (particularly magnesium, selenium, zinc, and vitamin C) has a negative impact on optimal immune function, through the progressive depletion of CD4 T-lymphocyte cells, which thereby increases susceptibility to morbidity and mortality among PLWH.
Objective: To assess the short and long term effects of a nutrition sensitive intervention to delay the progression of human immune-deficiency virus (HIV) to AIDS among people living with HIV in Abuja, Nigeria.
Methods: A randomized control trial was carried out on 400 PLWH (adult, male and female of different religious background) in Nigeria between January and December 2012. Out of these 400 participants, 100 were randomly selected for the pilot study, which took place over six months (January to June, 2012). The participants in the pilot study overlapped to form part of the scale-up participants (n 400) monitored from June to December 2012. The comparative effect of daily 354.92 kcal/d optimized meals consumed for six and twelve months was ascertained through the nutritional status and biochemical indices of the study participants (n=100 pilot interventions), who were and were not taking the intervention meal. The meal consisted of: Glycine max 50g (Soya bean); Pennisetum americanum 20g (Millet); Moringa oleifera 15g (Moringa); Daucus carota spp. sativa 15g (Carrot).
Results: At the end of sixth month intervention, mean CD4 cell count (cell/mm3) for Pre-ART and ART Test groups increased by 6.31% and 12.12% respectively. Mean mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) for Pre-ART and ART Test groups increased by 2.72% and 2.52% within the same period (n 400). Comparatively, participants who overlapped from pilot to scale-up intervention (long term use, n 100) were assessed for 12 months. Mean CD4 cell count (cell/mm3) for Pre-ART and ART test groups increased by 2.21% and 12.14%. Mean MUAC for Pre-ART and ART test groups increased by 2.08% and 3.95% respectively. Moreover, student’s t-test analysis suggests a strong association between the intervention meal, MUAC, and CD4 count on long term use of optimized meal in the group of participants being treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART) (P<0.05).
Conclusion: Although the achieved results take the form of specific technology, it suggests that a prolong consumption of the intervention meal will be suitable to sustain the gained improvements in the anthropometric and biochemical indices of PLWHIV in Nigeria.