Health Status, Health Care Use, Medication Use, and Medication AdherenceAmong Homeless and Housed People Living with HIV/AIDS

Daniel P. Kidder, Richard J. Wolitski, Michael L. Campsmith, and Glenn V. Nakamura

December 2007

The purpose of the study was to compare health status, health care use, HIV antiretroviral medication use, and HIV medication adherence among homeless and housed people with HIV/AIDS.  Data were obtained from a cross-sectional, multisite behavioral survey of adults (N=7,925) recently reported to be HIV positive. At the time interviews were conducted, 304 respondents (4%) were homeless.  Self-ratings of mental, physical, and overall health revealed that the health status of homeless respondents was poorer than that of housed respondents.  Additionally, homeless respondents were more likely to be uninsured, to have visited an emergency department, and to have been admitted to a hospital. Homeless respondents had lower CD4 counts, were less likely to have taken HIV antiretroviral medications, and were less adherent to their medication regimen. Homeless respondents needed more HIV social and medical services, but nearly all respondents in both groups had received needed services. Housing status remained a significant predictor of health and medication outcomes after controlling for potential confounding variables.  The researchers concluded that homeless people with HIV/AIDS are at increased risk of negative health outcomes, and housing is a potentially important mechanism for improving the health of this vulnerable group.

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