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2005-10-18-HIV/AIDS Contributing to Rising Hunger in Southern Africa
HIV and hunger "continue to make each other worse" and the severe food shortage in Southern Africa is prompting behavior that could further spread the virus among people living in the region, NPR's "Weekend Edition Sunday" reports.
According to the U.N. World Food Programme, 8.5 million people in Southern Africa will face food shortages in the coming months. The region has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, with approximately 40% of adults estimated to be HIV-positive in some countries, and many HIV-positive people cannot farm their fields because of their poor health.
Health care workers in the region say the food crisis is leading to further spread of the virus, as HIV-positive widows seek new husbands or trade sex for food for their families; children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS are "left to fend for themselves" in cities; and HIV-positive women continue to breastfeed, even though it might transmit the virus to their babies, because they cannot afford infant formula, NPR reports.
The segment includes comments from a district manager with Malawi's Ministry of Agriculture; a health worker at a clinic for HIV-positive women with children in Malawi; and HIV-positive women in the country who are subsistence farmers (Beaubien, "Weekend Edition Sunday," NPR, 10/16).