AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 856–864

Rates and Correlates of HIV and STI Infection Among Homeless Women


    • Department of PsychiatryColumbia University
    • Division of Clinical PhenomenologyNew York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Nabila El-Bassel
    • School of Social WorkColumbia University
  • Andrew Gelman
    • Department of StatisticsColumbia University
  • Susan Barrow
    • Division of EpidemiologyNew York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Daniel Herman
    • Silberman School of Social WorkHunter College
  • Eustace Hsu
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern California
  • Ana Z. Tochterman
    • Division of Mental Health Services and Policy ResearchNew York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Karen Johnson
    • School of Social WorkColumbia University
  • Alan Felix
    • Department of PsychiatryColumbia University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10461-012-0198-x

Cite this article as:
Caton, C.L.M., El-Bassel, N., Gelman, A. et al. AIDS Behav (2013) 17: 856. doi:10.1007/s10461-012-0198-x


We studied the prevalence of biologically confirmed HIV, Chlamydia, and gonorrhea in a randomly selected sample of sheltered homeless women in New York City, and explored their association with demographic, homeless history, and clinical risk factors. 329 women were randomly selected from 28 family and single adult shelters. The estimated prevalence of HIV in the study sample is 0.6 % (±0.3 %); for Chlamydia it is 6.7 % (±2.2 %); for gonorrhea it is 0.9 % (±0.04 %). A history of childhood sexual abuse, arrest history, current psychotic symptoms, and substance use disorder placed women at greater risk of infection. We consider contextual factors that may yield underestimates of HIV prevalence in our sample and discuss how a more comprehensive prevalence estimate might be constructed. Findings underscore the importance of offering HIV/STI testing, counseling, and HIV risk prevention interventions to homeless women and suggest that interventions should be tailored to the needs of specific subgroups of homeless women.


HIVSTIHomeless women

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012