December 1, 2014

The Connection between Housing and Improved Outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum

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Recently, HUD’s Office of HIV/AIDS Housing published a white paper aimed at illuminating the intersection between housing and health care with improved health outcomes for those living with HIV.

The paper is important because it includes a number of salient points about significant gaps in the HIV Care Continuum—all driven by CDC data:

  • Almost 20 percent of the estimated 1.1 million persons living with HIV in the United States are undiagnosed. These individuals do not know they are infected and as a result are not receiving appropriate medical care and could be unknowingly infecting others with HIV ;
  • 34 percent of persons living with HIV are not linked to medical care, meaning they have been diagnosed with HIV, but have not been connected to an HIV healthcare provider;
  • 63 percent of persons living with HIV are not receiving ongoing medical care. As HIV treatment is a lifelong process, persons living with HIV must receive ongoing medical care to stay in good health;
  • 67 percent of persons living with HIV are not on antiretroviral therapy. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the recommended treatment for HIV. It involves taking a combination of antiretroviral drugs every day to control the virus; and
  • Only 25 percent of persons living with HIV have achieved viral suppression. Viral suppression means there is a very low level of HIV in a person’s blood. Taking ART regularly enables a person with HIV to achieve viral suppression, which is helps to maintain good health and reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to others.

We know that stable housing has a direct, independent, and powerful impact on HIV incidence, health outcomes, and health disparities.  And this paper further demonstrates the impact that stable housing has on each step of the HIV Care Continuum.  In addition, the authors reinforce the idea that stable housing is a key component of HIV care and they discuss the importance of improved collaboration between housing and HIV care providers to better integrate HIV services and improve health outcomes for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

So where can you learn more?

There will be a public discussion of the white paper during a live Twitter Chat on January 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM ET.  The Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (@HUD_HOPWA) will host the chat by presenting a series of topical questions to participants.  More information will be provided closer to the date, but don’t wait to read the white paper!

Amy Palilonis is a Management Analyst in the Office of HIV/AIDS Housing, Office of Community Planning and Development.

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