Investigating Responses to Food Insecurity Among HIV Positive People in Resource Rich Settings: A Systematic Review

J Community Health. 2017 Oct;42(5):1062-1068. doi: 10.1007/s10900-017-0351-6.


Many of the 36.7 million people living with HIV are also assumed to be food insecure. The implications of food insecurity in people living with HIV are significant, with food insecurity associated with an increased likelihood of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use, experiences of depression or depressive symptoms, poor adherence and delayed uptake of HIV medication, nutritional vulnerability leading to interference of medication, and the uptake of risky behaviours as a way to gain access to food resources. This review sought to present the current intervention research around the experiences of food insecurity in PLWHA in high resource countries to determine successful models to address the issue. Only five articles were identified in a systematic search, three reported on studies that were conducted in the USA and two in Canada. Two articles were cross sectional, one was a program evaluation, one ethnography, and one took a qualitative approach. This review highlights a lack of published research in the area of HIV and food insecurity in resource rich countries. The findings of this study suggest that there are currently no standard or best practice ways to provide food aid to PLWHA to reduce food security. The lack of published results means that while there may be good programs operating in the community, this information and knowledge is not being shared, resulting in a lack of consistency in approach, possible duplication, and the potential for wasted resources. Overall, this review suggests a need for more dedicated evaluation and longitudinal research.

Keywords: Food insecurity; Food security; HIV; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Supply / statistics & numerical data*
  • HIV Infections* / economics
  • HIV Infections* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • United States