Nutrition is very important to the wellness of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Nutritional status and antiretroviral treatment (ART) play a key role in keeping immune function high and stopping HIV from turning into AIDS. Poverty, marginalization, racism, violence, stigma, poor nutrition, and HIV create a “perfect storm” that often causes harm to the health of PLWHA. FoodNOW commits to a community-based approach in looking at the needs and wants of PLWHA in Nova Scotia as they relate to food, policy, and programs.

Project Mission, Values and Goals

Mission

To gain an understanding of the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nova Scotia through a comprehensive community-informed needs assessment.

Values

  • Community-based
  • Knowledge transfer and sharing
  • Diversity and inclusion

Goals

  • Review and collate the peer-reviewed papers and work (e.g., reports, service provider websites) on HIV/AIDS nutrition and food programs offered to PLWHA in Canada.
  • Medical nutrition therapy is the basis of many nutritional programs offered to this population. This initiative will explore current public and service barriers and facilitators to keeping on track with current evidence-informed medical nutrition therapy (e.g., perspectives, values, bias/stigma, knowledge, attitudes, access).
  • Examine the cost of a nutritious diet for PLWHA in NS using National Nutritious Food Basket (NNFB) food costing and determine if people can afford it.
  • Provide space for stakeholder and end-user knowledge exchange and discussion about their experiences with food programs including the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on service, service access, and nutrition and food related practice(s).
  • Purposely engage and recruit people from diverse communities, with a mix of identities, as part of our research team and as research participants.
  • Find ways stakeholders and end-users can develop programs in a joint effort that support nutrition and foods, health, and wellbeing in Nova Scotia.

Program Methodology

  • Phase 1: Conduct Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) scoping review to look at the nutrition and food programs offered to PLWHA in Canada. This includes both published work (peer-reviewed) and unpublished work (e.g., reports, service provider websites).
  • Phase 2: Determine food costs of a basic healthy diet for diverse age and sex groups with published Participatory Food Costing methods using the 2019 National Nutritious Food Basket (NNFB). Once costs are known, determine if this diet is affordable.
  • Phase 3: Conduct qualitative interviews with people living with HIV/AIDS and service providers.
  • Phase 4: Offer a self-administered questionnaire (online) on the lived experiences of PLWHA, as it relates to food and nutrition programs, for PLWHA in Nova Scotia.