Can Yogurt Slow the Spread of HIV?

Researchers hope a new dairy-based concoction will prevent disease.

Monday, June 08, 2009

HIV is sometimes referred to as a disease of the gut because of the voracity with which it attacks a victim's gastrointestinal tract. As researchers look at ways to limit the disease's affect on the body, a simple, stomach soothing solution came to mind: yogurt. More precisely, yogurt infused with friendly bacteria. Scientist Gregor Reid joins The Takeaway to talk about his work with HIV patients in Africa. There, in Tanzania, he has helped teach a group of "yogurt mamas" how they might serve up disease protection one cup at a time.

For more information, head to the pilot yogurt program's website, Western Heads East. Read more about the group, as well as other probiotic research, by checking out the article, A cultured response to HIV, in the June 2009 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

Photos from Gregor Reid's trip:

Gregor Reid writes in to expand on his explanation of the program:

It was nice to be on the show. I do need to further clarify one important point - the probiotic yogurt made by the Yogurt Mamas in Mwanza, Tanzania, reaches around 350 people at present and is not a protection from HIV/AIDS. It provides nutrition as well as some relief from the symptoms and signs associated with the disease. People who are on anti-retroviral therapy are told to remain on the therapy even if they take the yogurt. The Mwanza project is run by the local Tanzanian community and Western Heads East, a volunteer organization at The University of Western Ontario. The World Bank Grant is held by my colleague Dr. Isaac Luginaah and is to set up another kitchen in Kenya. — Gregor Reid

Guests:

Gregor Reid

Contributors:

Molly Webster

Comments [2]

chester

Real, non-industrial yogurt doesn't need probiotics added. I wonder if the denaturing of our food has anything to do with the ascent of HIV as a killer rather than just a microbe among microbes that when balanced, keep hosts healthy.

Jun. 10 2009 01:53 PM
Gregor Reid

It was nice to be on the show. I do need to further clarify one important point - the probiotic yogurt made by the Yogurt Mamas in Mwanza, Tanzania reaches around 350 people at present and is not a protection from HIV/AIDS. It is providing nutrition as well as some relief from the symptoms and signs associated with the disease. People who are on anti-retroviral therapy are told to remain on the therapy even if they take the yogurt. The Mwanza project is run by the local Tanzanian community and Western Heads East, a volunteer organization at The University of Western Ontario. The World Bank Grant is held by my colleague Dr. Isaac Luginaah and is to set up another kitchen in Kenya.

Jun. 08 2009 07:36 AM

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