The CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States . Every year, there are still an estimated 56,300 Americans that become newly infected with HIV. While treatments have progressed and individuals are able to live long lives with HIV, the treatment regimen to stop the onset of AIDS is complicated and expensive. HIV disproportionately affects the gay and bisexual community. By racial group, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV/AIDS infection in nation.

Nearly 95% of individuals receiving permanent housing or rental assistance through the HOPWA program achieve housing stability within three years.

An increasing number of the people accessing HIV/AIDS services and housing programs have histories of homelessness, mental illness and chemical dependency. People currently experiencing homelessness are at a higher risk for being HIV positive and they are at a higher risk of delaying diagnosis and treatment.  Individuals experiencing homelessness often have limited access to medical care and lack the needed income to afford expensive medication.  As a result, the onset of AIDS for this population is accelerated. Stable supportive housing is the cornerstone of HIV/AIDS treatment, allowing individuals to access care regularly. The primary housing assistance for this population is the Housing Assistance for Persons with AIDS program (HOPWA ), a joint program with HUD and HHS that includes permanent supportive housing, rental assistance, and short term assistance.  In addition, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS program  funds medical care and other services for low-income HIV positive individuals.  Mainstream benefits programs like Medicaid  can be critical to allowing HIV positive individuals experiencing homelessness to get the care they need.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of HIV/AIDS Housing (OHH) now has a searchable database of over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles related to HIV/AIDS and housing. All articles on this database can be searched by Region, Topic, and Population and are full-text. If you are interested in more research on this topic, we encourage you to access OHH's database.

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The resources, programs, and information below address the relationship between HIV/AIDS and homelessness and solutions for HIV positive individuals experiencing homelessness.

Additional Resources

Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program is the only Federal program dedicated...

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program

The Ryan White HIV/AIDS program began in 1990 and the majority of funds support primary...

“In Order to House Everyone, We Must Tear Down Some Walls…”

In this speech delivered at the Georgia Supportive Housing Association annual conference, USICH Policy Director...


The CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the...