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This cartoon, from Kenya's Daily Nation, exemplifies one of the many emerging issues around HIV/AIDS treatment programs. The drugs have arrived, people are being treated and the numbers are growing...but does enrollment in a treatment program mean successful therapy? Adherence to an ARV regimen depends on many factors, one of which is adequate nutritional intake to minimize side effects and maximize drug efficacy in every enrolled individual. In resource poor settings where malnutrition and HIV infection coexist, do people have to make this choice - peddling drugs for food? While this cartoon expresses the lighter side of this trade-off in a heavily affected country, the effectiveness of billions of development dollars is at stake here. Pouring dollars into HIV/AIDS treatment without addressing the "wrap around" components with any seriousness may significantly impede the success of straight down vertical treatment programs. Some smart thinking about re-allocating vertical, emergency response dollars to a more integrated, long term approach is long overdue!
CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.