Published May 1, 2017
Congratulations to Assistant Professor Elizabeth Bowen and colleagues on the publication of their article, "Predictors of CD4 health and viral suppression outcomes for formerly homeless people living with HIV/AIDS in scattered site supportive housing," AIDS Care.
Bowen, E. A., Canfield, J., Moore, S., Hines, M., Hartke, B., & Rademacher, C. (2017). Predictors of CD4 health and viral suppression outcomes for formerly homeless people living with HIV/AIDS in scattered site supportive housing. AIDS Care. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2017.1307920
Stable housing is key to improving health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS. Though many formerly homeless HIV positive individuals reside in supportive housing, little research has examined biometric HIV health outcomes for residents of these programs. Through a community-based research partnership, this study analyzed secondary data from a Shelter Plus Care supportive housing program in Cincinnati, Ohio to examine the likelihood of participants achieving a healthy CD4 count (>500 cells/mm3) and viral suppression (viral load <200 copies/mL) while in supportive housing and to identify participant characteristics associated with these outcomes. The study sample was 86 participants who entered the program between 2008 and 2016, including 50 current residents and 36 exited participants. Participants' average length of stay in Shelter Plus Care was 35.2 months (range 3.2-108.1 months) during the study period. Bivariate analysis indicated statistically significant improvements on both outcome variables, with 45% of participants achieving a healthy CD4 count and 79% achieving viral suppression by program exit or most recent time point. Participants who had health insurance at intake and who had never been incarcerated were more likely to achieve viral suppression, and longer length of stay in the program was also positively associated with viral suppression. These results add to the literature on the relationship between housing conditions and HIV health outcomes by demonstrating that residence in supportive housing is associated with improvements in CD4 count and viral load for a sample of formerly homeless persons living with HIV/AIDS, two-thirds of whom had co-occurring physical health, mental health, or substance abuse problems. Further research collaborations should expand on these findings to examine the service packages that are associated with optimal HIV health outcomes for supportive housing residents.