oa South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Nutritional status of HIV-infected adults on antiretroviral therapy and the impact of nutritional supplementation in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa : original research

Volume 23, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1607-0658
  • E-ISSN: 2221-1268



The study aimed to describe the nutritional status and determine the impact of current nutrition intervention strategies on weight changes in adult HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.

A descriptive, prospective trial was performed.
The investigation was conducted at ARV roll-out centres in Kimberley, Upington, Kuruman, Prieska and Springbok in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Adult HIV-infected patients receiving ARV therapy were included in the study.
Each participant's body mass index (BMI) was determined before and after a four-month intervention period of nutritional supplementation with an instant, enriched maize product.
Data from 98 patients (mean age 39.7 years; standard deviation 8.9 years) were assessed. Prior to intervention, the median BMI was 20 kg/m2 (range 12.6-29.7 kg/m2); the patients from Kuruman had a greater incidence of underweight compared to the other towns, with a median BMI of 17.9 kg/m2. Of the 87 patients assessed during the final week, 49.4% experienced weight gain and 40.2% lost weight. Eighteen (20.7%) patients gained more than 5% of their baseline weight, which was significant. Only eight (9.2%) patients lost more than 5% of their baseline weight. Twenty-two patients who presented with a BMI < 18.5 kg/m2 at baseline had a median weight gain of 1.13 kg during the intervention period, while the group with a BMI > 18.5 kg/m2 presented with no change in median weight.
Nutritional supplementation, provided according to provincial policy and combined with ARVs, nutritionally benefitted about half of the patients in the ARV programme in the Northern Cape.

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