Nutrition in the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapy : a case of people living with HIV/AIDS in Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe.
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For the past two decades HIV/AIDS has received global attention in developing and developed countries. The findings of HIV/AIDS indicate that the pandemic remains the greatest threat to a better life globally. In Zimbabwe HIV/AIDS has accounted for the highest recorded and unrecorded cases of death. Studies globally have indicated that a nutrient rich diet is required for HAART to produce optimum results. The aim of the study is to explore the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS in Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe with regards to processing and accessing nutrition in people living with HIV/AIDS in Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe. For this study data was obtained using face to face in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informants. The in-depth interviews were held with five men and five women living with HIV/AIDS from Tsholotsho. The focus group discussions were also held with ten people, men and women living with HIV/AIDS in Tsholotsho. The key informants also were interviewed in Tsholotsho. The findings of the study indicate that the Zimbabwean economic situation coupled with lack of adequate rainfall has posed challenges to HIV/AIDS patients’ ability to maintain a healthy diet. In addition, the HIV/AIDS patients complained about the removal of NGOs who used to supplement their diet. The participants indicated lack of employment opportunities, restrictions on food imports were some of the factors leading them to experiencing challenges in their everyday lives particularly in terms of access to relevant nutrition. The study suggests that people living with HIV/AIDS are knowledgeable with the high nutritional value when compared to western diet which consists of refined diet and were relying on gathering wild fruits and vegetables. The study recommends that the government to consider renewing the social welfare department that used to provide safety nets for the people living with HIV/AIDS who cannot access the required diet. This will be an efficient mechanism for improving the standards of living and redistributing wealth to create a more equitable society.