Nutrition in HIV

Poster for Al Duncan
Poster for Al Duncan

April’s talk will be given by Alastair Duncan, Lead Dietician at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ hospital in London. His talk will focus on:

  • HIV epidemiology – good news and bad news
  • Why is nutrition important in HIV?
  • HIV Nutrition in Africa
  • Accelerated ageing in HIV

Al’s own online profile describes him as follows:

In the 1980s I watched friends and colleagues becoming increasingly unwell as HIV took its’ toll on their immune system. With my background in both biological sciences and food production I became acutely aware of signs of malnutrition as the HIV progressed. I began volunteering with The Food Chain, a charity providing meals and other nutrition support to housebound people with HIV. I realised just how important good nutrition is for positive people, not just in helping maintain a strong immune system, but also in managing symptoms, preventing weight loss, and improving quality of life. Through contacts in The Food Chain I had a realisation that I should train in dietetics and work in HIV nutrition

For the last fifteen years I have been working at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, specialising in HIV, whilst continuing to volunteer at The Food Chain.

I have been awarded a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship, and from 2013 until 2016 I will be investigating the potential to prevent Type 2 Diabetes in HIV patients, as part of a role for nutrition as a therapy to slow an accelerating ageing process becoming apparent in people living with HIV.

Al has volunteered with The Food Chain for almost 20 years, and was elected Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2000-2003. Since 2005 as part of The Children’s HIV Association Alastair has frequently visited South Africa to help facilitate the roll-out of antiretrovirals to infants and children. As Winston Churchill Fellow of 2007, he was awarded a bursary to travel to Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa to exchange information around HIV nutrition.

His research interests include the metabolic impact of both HIV and antiretroviral therapy, and factors affecting diet, exercise and smoking behaviours in people living with HIV. He is currently Chair of DHIVA, Dietitians specialising in HIV and AIDS.


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