Housing Status and HIV Risk Behaviors Among Homeless and Housed Persons with HIV

Daniel P. Kidder, Richard J. Wolitski, Sherri L. Pals, and Michael L. Campsmith

December 2008

The purpose of this study was to compare drug, alcohol, and sexual HIV transmission risk behaviors of homeless and housed people living with HIV/AIDS. D ata were compiled from 8,075 respondents in a cross-sectional, multi-site behavioral survey of adults recently reported to have HIV infection. At interview, 310 respondents (4%) were homeless. Compared with homeless respondents, housed respondents were more likely to be sexually active during the preceding 12 months. However, sexually active homeless respondents had more sex partners (lifetime and past 12 months), greater sex exchange for money or drugs (lifetime and past 12 months), and greater unprotected vaginal or anal sex with an unknown serostatus partner. Homeless respondents were also more likely to have possible alcohol abuse (lifetime), used drugs (last 12 months), and injected drugs (lifetime and past 12 months).  After controlling for potential confounding variables, housing status remained a significant predictor of number of sex partners (past 12 months), sex exchange (lifetime and past 12 months), unprotected sex with unknown status partner, and all drug and alcohol use variables. The researchers concluded that homeless people living with HIV/AIDS are more likely to have ever or recently engaged in substance use and HIV transmission risk behaviors.  Findings underscore the need to provide HIV prevention services to homeless persons and address their housing needs.

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