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Nutritional counselling and support for HIV out-patients.


Int Conf AIDS. 1996 Jul 7-12;11(1):182 (abstract no. Mo.D.1748). Unique

Issue: HIV-infected persons often are concerned about their weight, healthy eating and food contamination. Many physicians are at a loss in responding to specific dietary questions and the role of diet in preventing weight loss. Project: In May 1995, a nutrition counselling service for HIV outpatients was established at our Hospital. This new activity has 3 main objectives: 1) to provide specialised advice to patients and their caregivers, and assist them in reducing the severity and the consequences of HIV nutrition-related symptoms; 2) to prevent weight loss and improve nutrition/health-related quality of life,and 3) to evaluate the adequacy, usefulness and quality of this service. This is done by monitoring nutritional impact and quality of life of patients as well as users' satisfaction (physicians & patients). The consultation is conducted by a dietician and encompasses complete nutritional assessment (anthropometry, body composition, food intake), nutritional counselling, provision of educational documents and rapid printed feed-back to the referring physician. Regular followups are encouraged to ensure proper monitoring and continuous refinement of nutritional support. Results: Attendance has increased at a steady pace since inception and the majority of patients (59%) are returning for follow-ups. Involuntary weight loss was the most common reason for attendance (58%). Patients with advanced HIV disease were over-represented in comparison to early HIV-infected (65% previously hospitalised at least once). Initial results of the ongoing evaluation confirm strong demands of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PWLHA) and concerned community groups. Patients satisfaction survey indicates that the consultation is considered useful by 92% of participants and that most (86%) report adhering to dietician's recommendations. Referring physicians also express strong support. Lessons Learned: Preventive nutrition intervention may prove more effective for PWLHA at an early stage of their illness. The originality of the project resides in the built-in ongoing evaluation. Users' survey provides valuable guidance to develop and improve the service. Evaluating newly established health services for HIV patients is essential in a context of shrinking budgets and competition for funding.

*HIV Infections/COMPLICATIONS *Nutrition Disorders/PREVENTION & CONTROL *Nutritional Support


Information in this article was accurate in January 30, 1997. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.