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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers: Study Explores Diet, Physical Activity, and Body Image Among Older Men Diagnosed With HIV/AIDS

A recent Rutgers School of Public Health  Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) study found that long term human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) survivors need access to healthy food predicated on the complex associations between aging, HIV, and access to health lifestyle choices in people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).

The mixed methods study builds upon minimal research on diet, physical activity, and body image among older men who have sex with men diagnosed with HIV/AIDS before 1996.

Participants were recruited from Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) in New York City, a nonprofit HIIV/AIDS prevention agency. Ten of the forty participants partook in in-depth interviews that explored topics related to their food environment and diet.

Findings revealed: (1) the challenges participants experienced in locating and eating healthy food; (2) how HIV influenced their food choices; (3) and the importance of increasing exercising to reduce body dysmorphic disorder. The men reported their desire to eat a well-balanced diet, but were often challenged by the quality of food obtained in local food pantries.

“Additional work with long term survivors of HIV/AIDS is needed and necessary to develop appropriate and tailored HIV interventions that addresses the complexities of managing HIV as a chronic condition and the aging process,” said Dr. Pamela Valera, one of the study’s co-authors.

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