Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) For Study Session 12

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this module.

SAQ 12.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 12.1 and 12.2)

What do you think are the main effects of HIV on nutritional status?


Nutritional status and the progression of HIV are strongly interrelated. HIV infection increases the body’s energy needs while it diminishes appetite and decreases the body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. This leads to malnutrition which in turn accelerates the HIV infection.

SAQ 12.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 12.1, 12.3 and 12.4)

  • a.Discuss the most important effects of good nutrition to PLHIV.
  • b.What advice would you give to a PLHIV so they can maintain their health and strength for as long as possible?


  • a.Nutrition care and support helps break the vicious cycle of HIV and malnutrition by helping people living with HIV (PLHIV) maintain and improve their nutritional status, improve their immune response, manage the frequency and severity of symptoms, and improve their response to antiretroviral therapy (ART) and other medical treatment.
  • b.There are seven strategies you could advise PLHIV to adopt to increase their chances of being healthy and strong. These include maintaining a healthy life style, eating energy-rich foods, drinking clean water, having regular health checks for weight and taking appropriate medicines. As a Health Extension Practitioner you can encourage PLHIV in your community to seek early treatment for symptoms and advise them on how they can manage these through diet and maintaining high levels of hygiene and sanitation.

SAQ 12.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 12.1, 12.5 and 12.6)

  • a.What is the recommended infant feeding option to an infant born to an HIV-positive mother?
  • b.What is the reason that this option is preferred?


  • a.The preferred recommended infant feeding option to an infant born to HIV-positive mother is exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Appropriate complementary foods should be introduced at six months of age with continued breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should stop only when a nutritionally adequate diet without breastmilk can be provided. This is usually around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • b.The majority of the mothers in your communities can’t fulfil the AFASS criteria and children who are not breastfed are at high risk of developing malnutrition and numerous childhood infections. Therefore the survival of the infant will be significantly affected.

SAQ 12.4 (tests Learning Outcomes 12.1 and 12.7)

Discuss the important measures that you could adopt in your community to decrease MTCT of HIV for an infant who is breastfeeding and who has been born to an HIV-positive mother.


As a Health Extension Practitioner, you may be able to perform the following measures to help decrease MTCT of HIV for an infant who is breastfeeding and who has been born to an HIV-positive mother:

  • Screen HIV-positive mothers for ART eligibility (see the Communicable Disease Module)
  • Provide an effective ARV prophylactic regimen for non-eligible women and their infants
  • Actively support exclusive breastfeeding from birth until six months
  • Advise mothers not to mix feed because this increases the risk of MTCT
  • Advise mothers how to maintain good breast health and seek immediate attention for cracked nipples, mastitis or abscesses
  • Promote and support the initiation of complementary feeding at six months and recommend continuing breastfeeding until 12 – 18 months
  • Support mothers to avoid becoming infected with HIV during breastfeeding (counsel on safe sex).

Summary of Study Session 12