Nutrition assessment, counseling, and support interventions to improve health-related outcomes in people living with HIV/AIDS

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Rigorous, better designed studies in resource-limited settings are urgently needed to understand the effectiveness of nutrition assessment and counseling alone, as well as studies to understand better modalities of food support to improve both short- and long-term patient retention in care and treatment, and clinical outcomes.

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is used to treat people living with HIV (PLHIV). ART improves rates of morbidity and mortality in PLHIV, however it is unclear whether nutritional interventions to improve weight/BMI prior to, or at, ART initiation will improve subsequent clinical outcomes. This review aims to examine data, to assess the effects of nutritional interventions on outcomes in PLHIV. Twenty-one articles were included in this review, the quality of the studies included ranges from medium to weak. Results show the overall quality of existing evidence to be weak across five outcomes; mortality, morbidity, retention in care, quality of life, and/or prevention of ongoing HIV transmission. The data is deemed inconclusive with regards to the impact of NACS programming on all five outcomes of interest and that significant knowledge and research gaps remain.

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