Socioeconomic, Behavioral, and Clinical Characteristics of Persons Living with HIV Who Experience Homelessness in the United States, 2015-2016.AIDS Behav 2019AB
Homelessness is a substantial barrier to consistent, recommended HIV care, access and adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART), and sustained viral suppression, thus increasing the risk for morbidity and transmission. We used data from the Medical Monitoring Project for June 1, 2015-May 31, 2017 to estimate the weighted prevalence of homelessness among persons with diagnosed HIV (PWH) (N = 7665) overall and by selected sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical characteristics. Prevalence of homelessness was 8.5%. PWH experiencing homelessness were > 3 times as likely to have needed and not received shelter or housing services (32% vs. 10%), > 4 times as likely to inject drugs (9% vs. 2%), and > 7 times as likely to engage in exchange sex (10% vs. 1%), respectively, compared with PWH who did not experience homelessness. Homelessness was associated with lower HIV care retention, ART dose adherence, and sustained viral suppression. This analysis demonstrates substantial need for enhanced treatment, care, and service delivery for PWH experiencing homelessness. Research has demonstrated that housing assistance programs improve HIV-related outcomes and diminish HIV risk behaviors; therefore, housing assistance for PWH should be prioritized in public health policies and practice.