WHY HOUSING MATTERS

When NOT housed, individuals delay HIV testing and diagnosis. One study found that at-risk persons who were homeless or unstably housed were 15 times more likely to delay HIV testing.

When NOT housed, individuals are FOUR TIMES as likely to engage in risky behavior like sex exchange. Let that terrifying reality sink in for a moment.

When NOT housed, individuals tend to have no health care. One large study found that only 25 percent of participants with unstable housing were linked with primary HIV care, compared to 55 percent of those who are stably housed.

When NOT housed, individuals find that doctors are resistant to prescribing anti-retroviral drugs. Doctors believe that the chaotic lifestyle that can go along with homelessness will mean individuals won’t faithfully take their meds, thus resulting in them developing a resistance to the medications that strengthens the virus and then can be passed on to others. One study of HIV positive homeless men found that only 18 percent of them were getting the medications they needed.

When NOT housed, individuals are 7 to 9 times more likely to die of HIV-related mortality. A physician claimed last year that the meds are so good these days that “there is no reason anyone should die of AIDS anymore.” That may be true for HIV-positive individuals with housing, health care and insurance, but to the homeless, dying of AIDS is all too common

When housed, individuals decrease their risk behaviors (sex for money, sex for housing, sharing needles) by HALF.

When housed, individuals are more likely to have physicians prescribe antiretrovirals. A HUD study of its program known as HOPWA – Housing Opportunities for People Living with AIDS, which DeLaCerda House is a part – found that 92 percent of those housed through the program were getting primary HIV medical care and medications.

When housed, individuals are 3.7 times more likely to reach viral load suppression. That’s the point their virus is so well controlled that it is virtually undetectable – and, thus, very unlikely to be passed to others even if they did engage in risky behaviors like unsafe sex or sharing needles. In fact, viral load suppression has been found to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV by as much as 96 percent. Yet less than a quarter of homeless individuals with HIV have reached viral load suppression.

For more information, see:
https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/The-Connection-Between-Housing-and-Improved-Outcomes-Along-the-HIV-Care-Continuum.pdf

http://nationalaidshousing.org/PDF/FactSheet.pdf