People living with HIV/AIDS in the region do not have enough access to nutritional care and support, according to a Caribbean nutritionist who is here conducting a one-day workshop.
Deborah Henningham said that while mechanisms have been put in place to integrate nutrition and HIV/AIDS, they are not meeting the patients at the grassroots levels.
The nutritionist at the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute was addressing the start of a two-day workshop dealing with the Tools and Resources for Nutritional Management of HIV/AIDS.
Henningham explained that nutrition plays an essential role in the comprehensive response and treatment of HIV-infected people.
“HIV progressively weakens the immune system and leads to under nutrition, in turn, under-nutrition weakens the immune system, thus worsening the effects and contributes to a more rapid progression to AIDS,” she said.
According to Henningham, providing early and adequate nutrition support and care may be one of the most important interventions for people with HIV.
She is concerned that in many Caribbean countries, individuals affected with HIV do not have regular access, “or in some cases, any access to nutritional care and support”.
Meanwhile Coordinator of the HIV/AIDS Response Programme, Julie Frampton, promised that Dominica would continue to work towards providing quality care for people living with the disease that has plagued the region for the last 30 years.