Does Food Insecurity Undermine Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy? A Systematic Review

Springer Science + Business Media, 2014

Singer AW, Weiser SD, McCoy SI

Does Food Insecurity Undermine Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy? A Systematic Review

This systematic review summarises the quantitative literature on food insecurity in relation to anti-retroviral therapy (ART) adherence among people living with HIV. The 18 studies were conducted in different geographic locations in both resource-rich and resource-poor countries. Both food insecurity and ART adherence were measured inconsistently across studies.

  • Of 13 studies, 9 found a statistically significant association between food insecurity and reduced adherence to ART.
  • Of 4 studies examining the association between ART adherence and food assistance, 3 found that ART adherence was significantly better among food assistance recipients than non-recipients.

In this era of widespread and long-term treatment, additional research is needed in order:

  • to better understand the impact of food insecurity on ART adherence
  • to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of food assistance in improving ART adherence, along with other clinical outcomes
  • to guide interventions to support people living with HIV in maximizing treatment benefits and living longer and healthier lives

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