Understanding the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in the United States

Part of the series Social Disparities in Health and Health Care pp 277-295


HIV Housing Helps End Homelessness and HIV/AIDS in the United States

  • Julie HilversAffiliated withPolicy Research Collaborative, Roosevelt University Email author 
  • , Christine C. GeorgeAffiliated withCenter for Urban Research and Learning, Loyola University
  • , Arturo V. BendixenAffiliated withAIDS Foundation of Chicago

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This chapter addresses the syndemic relationship between HIV/AIDS and homelessness or precarious housing. We focus nationally on the United States, and conclude with a case study from the city of Chicago. This chapter reviews a wide number of studies which demonstrate that homelessness or unstable housing greatly impacts the health and overall well-being of individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Studies show an interrelationship between HIV status and housing status—people with HIV/AIDS are at risk of housing insecurity and homelessness due to a number of economic and income factors, while homelessness or housing insecurity is often associated with sex and drug use behaviors that place individual at high risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV. This chapter discusses the U.S. federal policies and strategies enacted to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to support low-income individuals with HIV/AIDS. Research shows that stable housing is key to achieving the goals of strategies and is associated with improved health outcomes for those with HIV/AIDS. In addition to better health outcomes, stable housing and supportive services for low-income individuals with chronic illnesses including HIV/AIDS is associated with reduced medical costs. Finally, this chapter describes the experiences of formerly homeless individuals living with HIV/AIDS and on Medicaid who are enrolled in a supportive housing program in Chicago. Through this case study, we explore the impact of the supportive housing program on these individuals’ health behavior and status and overall well-being.


Homelessness HIV/AIDS Homeless policy Housing and healthcare integration Permanent supportive housing Syndemics