FOOD IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2008/01/08
There was a time when “hard” science would take potshots at sociology for laboring to discover what everyone already knew. Nowadays HIV/AIDS researchers are doing their best to supplant sociologists as targets in this respect. Thus research was apparently needed to discover whether properly fed Africans do better than malnourished ones on antiretroviral drugs (DRUGS OR FOOD?, 25 December 2007), and whether it is worth de-worming African children so that they live long enough for the antiretroviral drugs to really suppress that evil virus (ARE INTESTINAL WORMS GOOD…, 30 December 2007). It also required a “Cross Continents Collaboration for Kids (3Cs4kids) Analysis and Writing Committee” (AIDS, 22  97-105) to uncover the following fact:
“Young children who were both severely malnourished and anaemic had high mortality regardless of CD4 values, particularly those aged 1-2 years”
and to reach the following conclusion:
“Prevention and treatment of malnutrition and anaemia is integral to HIV paediatric care and could improve survival.”
The authors also thought it worth noting that
“Malnutrition, respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases are among the leading causes of death, with considerable overlap in the spectrum of diseases with uninfected children” [emphasis added].
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It has been discovered, in other words, that children who are malnourished or who have anemia will die earlier than if they are well fed and not anemic, irrespective of whether they are HIV-positive or not.
The emphasized phrase, that HIV-positive and HIV-negative children die from largely the same conditions whether or not they are HIV-positive, is once again consistent with stress theory (HOW TO TEST THEORIES…, 7 January 2008): HIV-positive is in these cases a marker of the degree of severity of the particular condition. Several of the references cited in the AIDS article also support this view, for example, that HIV-positive children are 8 times as likely to die as HIV-negative ones (Newell et al., Mortality of infected and uninfected infants born to HIV-infected mothers in Africa: a pooled analysis, Lancet 364  1236-43).