Mitigating HIV/AIDS through dietary diversification : a study of indigenous foods intake among post-primary teachers in Nairobi
Nutrition and HIV are strongly interrelated. Malnutrition leads to the impairment of the immune system whereas HIV / Aids decimates, the immunity leading to malnutrition. This worsens the effect of HIV and is catalytic to Aids. For efficacy of ARVs a good diet is a prerequisite for maintenance of weight and muscle tissue and good micronutrient status. This study was designed to establish the role of indigenous foods and nutritional intervention in mitigating HIV/AIDS among post-primary teachers. Specifically the researcher sought to: study the feeding habits and the level of appreciation of indigenous foods, identify specific nutritious and medicinal indigenous foods which are appealing and appropriate to the health status of HIV carriers and AIDS patients, establish respondents' level of awareness of changing nutritional requirements during the various stages of HIV infection and AIDS and identify elements of dietary counseling that need to be promoted. The study was guided by the patient centred counseling model that reflects principles from research supported theories of: Consumer information processing theory (CIP), the Health Belief Model, the stages of change model and social cognitive theory. The patient-centred counselling model enhances long-term dietary adherence. This model facilitates change by assessing patient needs and subsequently tailoring the intervention to the patient's stage in the process of change, personal goals, and unique challenges. Clients are expected to engage in specific actions to deal with their problems. These theories stipulate that relevant information must be provided in order for people to make informed choices. The researcher focused on the post-primary teachers in Nairobi with and without the HIV causing virus. Information from the field was collected by use of interview schedules and use of interview guides for the key informants. The Frequency Food Questionnaire (FFQ) was used to estimate usual dietary intake patterns over the past 6 months. The FFQ had the ability to reflect dietary eating habits of post-primary teachers and their IFPs consumption. Coloured photographs of selected IFPs were provided to help respondents visualize the IFPs under study. Health variables obtained from the FFQ included vitamin and mineral supplement use, previous feeding habits, consumption of IFPs and self reported health status. The data obtained from the interview schedules was analysed through descriptive inferential analysis. Repeated 24-hour recalls of diet records where daily intake information was taken allowed reliable estimation of usual nutrient intake distribution in the groups.