29 November 2012

Africa: WFP Marks Ten Years On Front Lines Against Aids

World AIDS Day on December 1 marks ten years since WFP began providing specialised nutritional assistance to people suffering from the HIV virus. Ensuring that patients get the right nutrition and don't have to choose between treatment and food is critical to winning the fight against the disease.

ROME - Ten years ago, while responding to a drought in southern Africa, WFP recognised that hunger was weakening the immune systems of people with the disease and getting in the way of their acces to treatment.

In a region of the world devastated by the AIDS pandemic, WFP launched its first ever programme targeting the nutritional needs of people infected with the virus.

While providing patients with the nutrition they need to fight off the virus, these programmes also make sure that people with HIV don't have to choose between treatment and food.

Today, WFP reaches more than 2.3 million HIV patients in 34 countries with targeted nutritional assistance. Here are three people who show how those programmes save lives.

The Crocodile Man

A crocodile handler in Zimbabwe, Langton Dzeka says his close call wasn't with a reptile. In 2011, he found out that he was infected with the HIV virus and started losing wait. Today, he's on the rebound and back at work with the crocs thanks to a programme that provided him with nutritious food.

The Mother

Learning that she was HIV+ and that her husband had hidden the truth of his condition from her was a double shock for Florence, who lives in Liberia's capital Monrovia. But with support from WFP, she has turned her life around and is hopeful about her family's future.

The Business Woman

For Khumbu Shiba, who has been HIV-positive for three years, WFP's food and nutrition assistance has meant all the difference. Before, she was barely able to care for her family, and felt very weak. Now, she has regained her health and has even started her own business.

2012 World AIDS Day Report

WFP is one of 11 co-sponsors of UNAIDS, a UN Joint Programme that works to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

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