Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Dietetics and Nutrition

First Advisor's Name

Adriana Campa

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Fatma Huffman

Third Advisor's Name

Marianna Baum

Fourth Advisor's Name

Paulette Johnson

Fifth Advisor's Name

Barbara Thomlison


Supplemental Nutrition Asssistance Program, Nutritional Status, Food Security, Quality of Life, Nutrition Education, HIV

Date of Defense



Factors associated with and barriers to participation in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the effect participation has on food security, nutrition status, disease status and quality of life was investigated in a cross-sectional study including 175 HIV infected individuals. In addition, the effect of a targeted nutrition education on nutrition knowledge, readiness to dietary behavior change, nutrition status, disease status and quality of life was also investigated among a subset of the population (N = 45) in a randomized clinical control trial.

SNAP participation rate was 70.3%, similar to the State of Florida and national participation rates. SNAP participation was positively and independently associated with being born in the US (P < 0.001), having monthly income less than $1000 (P = 0.006), and receiving antiretroviral treatment (P < 0.001). Participation barriers include denial of participation by program, recent incarceration, living in a shelter where participation is not allowed and unawareness of eligibility status. In regression analyses, SNAP participation was not significantly associated with improved food security, nutrition status, disease status and health related quality of life (HRQOL). Over half (56%) of the population experienced food insecurity and had inadequate intakes of half of the nutrients assessed. Illicit drug, alcohol and cigarette use were high in this population (31%, 55% and 63% respectively), and affected food security, nutrients intake, disease status and HRQOL. The nutrition education intervention resulted in a trend towards improvements nutrition knowledge, self-efficacy, and readiness to change without impacting nutrition status, disease state and quality of life.

Food insecurity and other nutrition related issues, with implications for treatment, management and cost of HIV disease, continue to plague infected individuals living in poverty. More resources, including food and nutrition programs, specifically targeted towards this population are needed to address these issues.





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