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Food and HIV

Today, more than one billion people are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. People affected by HIV or AIDS and women in general are particularly more vulnerable to hunger, mainly because of social exclusion and discrimination. The good news is that governments committed themselves in the Millennium Declaration to end hunger and poverty (Millennium Development Goal 1) and to combat HIV and AIDS (Goal 6). By 2015 hunger should be halved and the spread of HIV should be halted. However, the actual statistics show that these goals are far from being reached.  

In June 2006 under the United Nations Political Declaration (A/RES/60/262, paragraph.28) on HIV/AIDS, the United Nations member states resolved to integrate food and nutritional support, with the goal that all people at all times will have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, for an active and healthy life, as part of a comprehensive response to HIV and AIDS. This commitment is an important component of their pledge to reach universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010. 

Together with other commitments on the right to food, such as the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights of the United Nations (ICESCR, 1966) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR, 1948), states have a duty to respect, fulfill and protect the right to food of everyone including people living with HIV and women, among other vulnerable groups. If these groups are not able to feed themselves, social safety nets should be put in place. Accessibility and availability of adequate food – without discrimination – is therefore central to the right to food, in addition to access to land and productive resources or to a salary that allows people to feed themselves and their family in dignity. 

The promises are ambitious – but the need is immense. Unmet targets mean lives lost, with untold tragedy and hardship spread throughout families, communities and even countries. Advocacy is needed to demand that states keep their promises that are essential for life for hundreds of millions of people.  

EAA PERSPECTIVES

The Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA) recognizes the interrelationships between food consumption and the successful intake of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for people living with HIV. There is also awareness of the impact of HIV and AIDS on agricultural production, and how poverty and food insecurity can lead to increased vulnerability to HIV transmission.  

The EAA’s two campaigns: Food for Life and Live the Promise, have joined together to bring their mutual expertise and experience to raising awareness of the linkages between food and HIV, and what everyone can do to ensure food security for people living with or affected by HIV.   

The EAA is inviting you to submit your stories on Food and HIV.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

The duty to ensure the realization of the right to food of vulnerable groups within society is not only a prerogative of Governments. Churches and church-related organizations have a special role to play to address the needs of all people, especially those on the margins of our society. Living in a broken and sinful world, in which we see hunger all around, our immediate response as compassionate people of faith is to offer food. We can take action through:

Sharing stories you know of by using the EAA template ( to illustrate how people living with HIV make decisions regarding their intake of ARVs or; how food insecurity makes people vulnerable to HIV.

Raising awareness of the links between food, nutrition and HIV through sharing the EAA fact sheet, including prayers and sermons addressing hunger and HIV.

Including HIV in all hunger and food security programmes.

Advocate for agricultural policies and programs that are HIV responsive, for example integrating HIV information into agricultural extension programmes.

Organize a worship service on World AIDS day with a focus on food and HIV. The liturgy is available here (link)

Sign the EAA letter calling upon world leaders to integrate nutrition and livelihood support for people living with HIV'.

Read Food and Health: A Life-Saving Combination for Adults and Children Living with HIV. A Joint Statement by EAA members and partners presented at the 19th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council (March 2012)

 

 

 

 

RESOURCES

World AIDS Day Liturgy, 2010 (EN, FR, ES)

Factsheet: HIV and the Right to Food, EAA, 2010 (EN)

One-pager for advocacy: HIV and Food, EAA, 2010 (EN)

Right to Food in the Context of HIV, FAO, 2009 (www.fao.org/hivaids)

HIV/AIDS, Food and Nutrition, UNAIDS Policy Brief 2008.

(http://data.unaids.org/pub/Manual/2008/jc1515a_policybrief_nutrition_en.pdf)

Food for Life Campaign Framework for Action (2009-2012) (EN, FR, ES)

Live the Promise Campaign Framework for Action (2009-2012) (EN, FR, ES)

Right to Food and Nutrition Watch: Who controls the governance of the world food system?, 2010  (EN, FR, ES)

 

Fast For Life