(Chicago) – People with HIV who lack reliable access to nutritious food are more likely to land in the hospital than those who regularly fail to have enough food to eat, a new study says.
Reuters’ Genevra Pittman reports:
“Food insecurity is a significant problem, but when you have a chronic disease, it only exacerbates things,” said Seth Kalichman, a psychologist who has studied adherence to HIV treatment and food access at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that at the end of 2008, close to 1.2 million teens and adults were living with an HIV infection in the United States.
For the new research, Dr. Sheri Weiser of the University of California, San Francisco and her colleagues regularly interviewed 347 people with HIV who were homeless or living in shelters or low-income, temporary housing.
At the study’s start, about one-quarter of them had visited an emergency room in the past three months and 11 percent had recently been admitted to a hospital. One-third of the participants reported severe food insecurity and more than half had at least some trouble consistently getting food.
Over the next two years, the researchers found people who were very anxious or uncertain about their food supply or without access to nutritious options were twice as likely to be hospitalized as those who didn’t report any food insecurity.
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