One living with HIV should make every effort to adopt healthy and balanced nutrition patterns in order to meet their increased protein and energy requirements and maintain their nutritional status.
Once people with HIV/AIDS become ill they will have special needs. When infected with the HIV virus the body’s defense system – the immune system – works harder to fight infection. This increases energy and nutrient requirements. Further infection and fever also increase the body’s demand for food. Once people are infected with HIV they have to eat more to meet these extra energy and nutrient needs. Such needs will increase even further as the HIV/AIDS symptoms develop.
People with HIV/AIDS often do not eat enough because:
- The illness and the medicines taken for it may reduce the appetite, modify the taste of food and prevent the body from absorbing it;
- Symptoms such as a sore mouth, nausea and vomiting make it difficult to eat;
- Tiredness, isolation and depression reduce the appetite and the willingness to make an effort to prepare food and eat regularly;
- There is not enough money to buy food.
To aid with this nutrition, the Food For Life Network was established in 1987 to provide and delivers groceries, meals and nutritional education to eliminate malnutrition and starvation in men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Miami Dade County.
In addition to delivering groceries and meals, Food For Life Network, Inc., along with Care Resource, provides other crucial services to the community, such as free screening for sexually transmitted diseases, free medical and dental care, access to health and nutrition specialists, professional training, assistance programs and referrals. Clients can receive selected items weekly & pantry items monthly at no cost to them. Clients pick up their groceries weekly from our site.
Grocery packages are also provided free of charge for our clients and are generally worth Fifty dollars ($50.00). Each one contains seven days’ worth of food, including meat, breakfast foods, staples, vegetables, fruits, starches such as rice and bread, juice and milk. The package is enough to prepare two generous meals, plus snacks or a light lunch each day. Personal hygiene items are also included upon availability.
Clients with dependent children are provided additional food items to allow them to feed their dependent children, ensuring adequate food for the HIV infected parent.
Home delivered meals and groceries are also available for those who qualify and can no longer travel easily in the Metro Miami Dade area, Groceries and/or Ready-to-eat meals, frozen meals and breakfast items delivered weekly.
According to Valjean Thomas, Food Services Supervisor with the Food for life network,
“We work hard every day for all those in South Florida who need us and also in memory of our dedicated and loyal colleague, Humberto Rosales, who left us recently in 2013. Those we love don’t go away, They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but all way near. Still Love, still miss and very dear No farewell words were spoken, No time to say good bye, You were gone before we knew it and only God knows why. R.I.P. Humberto”