INTRODUCTION : Healthy diets play a role in the management and care for adults living
with HIV/AIDS (ALH). Appropriate nutrition education (NE) is necessary to equip ALH
with relevant knowledge and skills for healthy eating. A needs assessment identified the
need for a nutrition education programme (NEP) as part of the nutrition service for ALH
in Abeokuta, Nigeria. The aim of this study was to design a theory-based NEP and to
evaluate the implementation process among ALH attending selected federal and state
hospitals in Abeokuta as out-patients.
MATERIALS AND METHODS : An exploratory descriptive needs assessment in the
qualitative and quantitative domains was conducted among a convenient sample of
ALH (N = 243) at the selected hospitals. The quantitative needs assessment identified
needs for improvement in the primary outcome [quality of life (QoL)] and the secondary
outcomes [quality of dietary intake, nutrition knowledge, attitudes, and practice (KAP),
and anthropometric status]. Participants’ perceptions of the NEP were obtained using an
interviewer administered questionnaire among 70 ALH who attended the implementation
of the NEP and process evaluation thereof at the intervention hospital.
RESULTS : The qualitative results identified a lack of knowledge on planning varied
meals with limited resources. The identified needs, existing guidelines and literature
were integrated with appropriate constructs of the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and
the Health Belief Model (HBM) into the NEP. The NE manual, participant’s work book,
flipcharts, and the brochure were tailored to address the identified challenges.
DISCUSSION : The process evaluation showed that the NEP was implemented as
planned and that the participants’ perceptions were positive. The use of the NE manual, participant’s work book, flipcharts, and brochure demonstrated the practicality
of incorporating behavioral theories in NE for ALH.