About Us

Nutrition is an important factor that contributes to the wellness of people living with HIV or AIDS. Nutritional status and antiretroviral treatment (ART) play a key role in maintaining immune function 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 and well-being of people living with HIV or AIDS. FoodNOW is committed to a community-based approach while exploring the food, policy, and program-related needs and wants of people living with HIV or AIDS in Nova Scotia.

Why Do We Need FoodNOW?

Poverty, food security and disease progress are inextricably linked (1, 2, 3). Nutrition and food researchers have long reported significant associations between household food insecurity, chronic disease development and progression, poor mental health, chronic pain, and premature death (2, 3). In 2020, Nova Scotia’s poverty rate for all persons was 9.8%, tied with British Columbia for the highest poverty rate in Canada, providing insights into why the Atlantic provinces are often highlighted for their high rates of food insecurity (4). Clarke et al (2023) showed that people living with HIV or AIDS in Nova Scotia receiving income assistance or minimum wage cannot reasonably afford a nutritious diet (standard basic diet, as per the Canadian Government) in addition to basic household expenses (1). An important note, the basic nutritious diet does not typically include modifications required for HIV or AIDS (e.g., increased energy and nutrient needs, accommodations for physical limitations). Nonetheless, Clarke’s findings persisted even when the basic nutritious diet was adjusted for increased energy needs (1).

The main goal of FoodNOW is to collect, share and discuss information on current nutrition and food programming available to people living with HIV or AIDS in Nova Scotia. As a community-informed needs assessment, FoodNOW is rooted in questions and perspectives identified by the community. As such, this research is participatory and involves several members of our community who are impacted by access to nutrition, food, and associated resources, including people living with HIV or AIDS and those who provide support to them.

FoodNOW Remains Committed to

• Community
• Knowledge transfer and sharing
• Diversity, inclusion, and accessibility

Project Phases

Phase 1: The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) scoping review focused on the nutrition and food programs offered to people living with HIV or AIDS in Canada. This includes both published work (peer-reviewed) and unpublished work (e.g., reports, service provider websites).
To read the Open Access JBI Scoping Review Protocol, click here.
To read the Open Access JBI Scoping Review, click here.

Phase 2: Virtual Food Costing methodology was used to determine the cost of a basic nutritious diet for households of diverse ages and sexes (including one person living with HIV or AIDS) in Nova Scotia, using the 2019 National Nutritious Food Basket.
To read the Open Access journal article, click here.

Phase 3: Semi-structured interviews with people living with HIV or AIDS and their service providers were used to learn more about their experiences with food and nutrition programming available in Nova Scotia.
To read the Open Access journal article (interviews with service providers), click here.
To read the Open Access journal article (interviews with people living with HIV or AIDS), click here.

Phase 4: A self-administered online questionnaire was used as an additional method for learning about the lived experiences (related to food, nutrition, and programming) of people living with HIV or AIDS in Nova Scotia.


1. Clarke A, Mannette J, Hamilton-Hinch B, Lynch M, Williams P, Grant S, Joy P. The cost of a nutritious diet for households including people living with HIV/AIDS in Nova Scotia: Findings and Lessons Learned by FoodNOW 2020 to 2022. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 2023 Mar 6. e-First. doi: 10.3148/cjdpr-2022-037

2. PROOF. Research Publications List. https://proof.utoronto.ca/resources/research-publications/. Last accessed: April 2, 2023.

3. FoodARC (Dr. Patty Williams). Research and Publications List. https://foodarc.ca/resources/publications. Last accessed April 2, 2023

4. Government of Nova Scotia. Poverty in 2020. Click here. Last accessed April 1, 2023


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