Pilot Agricultural Intervention for Food Security and HIV Outcomes in Kenya

Investigator: Craig Cohen, MD, MPH
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Mental Health

Location(s): Kenya


This NIH-funded project provides a novel approach to addressing the intersecting epidemics of food insecurity and HIV/AIDS by evaluating the impacts of a pilot multi-sectoral agricultural intervention on health and socioeconomic outcomes among people living with HIV/AIDS in Western Kenya. The study has the following aims:

  1. To operationalize and pilot test key design elements of a future cluster randomized control trial (RCT) aimed to improve health outcomes among HIV-infected patients in Western Kenya. The intervention includes: a) a human-powered water pump and other required farm commodities, b) a microfinance loan (~$75) to purchase the pump and agricultural implements, and c) training in financial management and sustainable farming practices.
  2. To conduct a pilot study of the agricultural intervention on 140 HIV-infected farmers to determine the preliminary impact of the intervention on mediating outcomes (food security, and household economic indicators), and on primary health outcomes of interest for the planned RCT (HIV treatment outcomes, HIV transmission risk and women’s empowerment).
  3. To assess the acceptability and feasibility of intervention and control conditions, and systematically translate lessons learned in the pilot study into the design of a cluster RCT. Our hypothesis is that this intervention will improve food security and income, thereby enhancing HIV treatment adherence, reducing treatment failure, decreasing co-morbidities, improving gender empowerment, and reducing secondary HIV transmission.