Journal of Community Health

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1133–1139 | Cite as

Food Insecurity and Other Poverty Indicators Among People Living with HIV/AIDS: Effects on Treatment and Health Outcomes

  • Seth C. KalichmanEmail author
  • Dominica Hernandez
  • Chauncey Cherry
  • Moira O. Kalichman
  • Christopher Washington
  • Tamar Grebler
Original Paper


Health disparities in access to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as well as the demands of long-term medication adherence have meant the full benefits of HIV treatment are often not realized. In particular, food insecurity has emerged as a robust predictor of ART non-adherence. However, research is limited in determining whether food insecurity uniquely impedes HIV treatment or if food insecurity is merely a marker for poverty that interferes more broadly with treatment. This study examined indicators of poverty at multiple levels in a sample of 364 men and 157 women living with HIV recruited through an offering of a free holiday food basket. Results showed that 61 % (N = 321) of participants had experienced at least one indicator of food insecurity in the previous month. Multivariate analyses showed that food insecurity was closely tied to lack of transportation. In addition, food insecurity was associated with lacking access to ART and poor ART adherence after adjusting for neighbourhood poverty, living in an area without a supermarket (food desert), education, stable housing, and reliable transportation. Results therefore affirm previous research that has suggested food insecurity is uniquely associated with poor ART adherence and calls for structural interventions that address basic survival needs among people living with HIV, especially food security.


Food insecurity Poverty and health HIV infection 



This project was supported by National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Grant R01-AA021471.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seth C. Kalichman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dominica Hernandez
    • 1
  • Chauncey Cherry
    • 1
  • Moira O. Kalichman
    • 1
  • Christopher Washington
    • 1
  • Tamar Grebler
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

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