Rosalia Adhiambo won’t take the free anti-HIV drugs that would prolong her life. The spiraling price of food in Kenya means she can’t afford to feed both her grandniece and herself. So she feeds 5-year-old Emily and doesn’t take her own medicine, fearing that the nausea she would get from taking the drugs without adequate food will make her too weak to look for work. Prices for staple foods this year are almost twice as high as in 2009, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization says. The rising prices and a dwindling of funds for HIV programs mean countless poor families must decide whether to focus on the health of an HIV-positive adult or on a child’s hunger. Valerian Kamito, a nurse at the clinic that gives Adhiambo her food, says some patients are refusing to start treatment for HIV and around a quarter of his 1,555 patients on anti-HIV drugs are now skipping their medication. “They say they cannot take them on an empty stomach,” Kamito said. Before prices rose, he said, “it was very rare.” HIV-positive adults need 10 percent more calories than other people just to maintain their body weight. Children with HIV need between 30 percent… Read full this story
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