Every day at Moveable Feast, vans drive out, stuffed with brown paper bags filled with frozen microwaveable meals. But these meals are not your typical TV dinner from Stouffer’s or Hormel. These meals are carefully designed by dietitians and meticulously put together by chefs to meet the nutritional needs of HIV-positive people who are so ill that they are too weak to leave their homes.
Yet…isn’t HIV a manageable disease with today’s advanced antiretroviral drugs? And hey, wasn’t there that huge breakthrough in HIV/AIDS treatment a few months ago? How many people could possibly have HIV and also be homebound, with all of these resources at their disposal?
Thankfully, HIV is no longer popularly construed as a disease that affects only homosexuals and drug users. But we often perceive HIV as a foreign or ‘African’ issue. The truth is that HIV is a poverty issue. The CDC found that 1 in 42 people living below the poverty line have HIV. And poorer people simply have a harder time working against the debilitating effects of HIV/AIDS.
The average antiretroviral drugs cost about $10,000 to $15,000 per year. As of August 2010, the Census Bureau defines the poverty line for an individual as an income of less than $10,830 per year. Yet 1 in 42 people living below this amount will have HIV. That’s a lot of people.
Poorer people also have less access to stable healthcare and housing, and endure the higher rates of violence that exist in poorer neighborhoods. Nutrition falls low on the priority list when a person is struggling with all these other problems.
But nutrition is incredibly important in fighting HIV. The idiom “feed a cold” has never been more pertinent.
That’s where Moveable Feast comes in. We provide nutritious food at no cost, so our clients can focus on getting better and maintaining their health. Because against HIV/AIDS, it really is a “food fight,” and we’re helping each of our clients win, day by day.