The Ugandan nongovernmental organization PREFA, which works to protect and prevent families against HIV, has created food security and nutrition programs for HIV-positive people in Masindi, Bulisa and Kayunga districts, The New Vision reports.

“Often neglected, food security and nutrition are critical for individuals, households and communities affected by HIV,” said David Serukka, MD, the executive director of PREFA. “Lack of food security and poor nutrition may hasten progression to AIDS-related illnesses and undermine adherence and response to antiretroviral [ARV] therapy.”

According to the article, the organization secured $6 million to fight malnutrition among HIV-affected families. Proper nutrition can manage symptoms of conditions associated with HIV, such as diarrhea, weight loss, sore mouth and throat, nausea and vomiting.

Adequate dietary intake and absorption are necessary to achieve the full benefits of ARV therapy, and evidence suggests that patients who begin therapy with insufficient nutrition have lower survival rates.