Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is associated with increased nutrient needs and compromised body immunity. Minimal information exists on effect of food-based interventions on health status of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and not on antiretroviral therapy (ART). This study investigated the efficacy of amaranth grain (Amaranthus cruentus) consumption on CD4 count and morbidity patterns among PLHIV. A one group pre-test-post-test study design was used on a sample of 66 pre-ART adults living with HIV. The study involved collection of baseline characteristics of the respondents; this was followed by consumption of amaranth grain porridge (100 g) for six months. Post-test data was collected and paired t- test was used to compare pre-test and post-test data. Daily consumption of 100 g of amaranth grain porridge increased nutrient intake. A significant increase (P=0.004) in CD4 count from 498.2±163 SD at baseline to 608 ± 157 SD post-test was observed. There was a significant decline in the number of respondents with any form of illnesses from a total of 52 (78.8%) at baseline to 21 (31.8%) respondents at month six (P=0.031). Amaranth grain increased nutrient intake, CD4 count and consequently reduced the prevalence of illness. The study recommends that nutrition and health practitioners should educate PLHIV on importance of use of amaranth grain to complement usual dietary intake.
Key words: Amaranth grain, CD4 count, morbidity pattern, people living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV).
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