NAHC joined with member partners Housing Works, Inc. and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, along with the Ontario HIV Treatment Network, to co-sponsor a housing satellite meeting at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, August 3. The meeting represented one of the first times that housing was highlighted in this international venue which attracted 25,000 participants. More than 150 housing summit participants learned about the state of Global HIV/AIDS housing from participants from Nepal, the US and Latin America and shared information about HIV/AIDS housing issues confronting their communities across the globe. The declaration, asserting housing for people with HIV/AIDS as a human right, was presented and discussed in a facilitated discussion with representatives, including representatives of communities from South Africa, Mexico, Peru and the US. The declaration was endorsed by meeting participants and presented to and accepted by International AIDS Society official Ron MacInnis. The meeting signaled the beginning of a week of action by HIV/AIDS housing advocates to keep housing stability and poverty and their implications for HIV/AIDS healthcare in the forefront at the International Conference. Endorsements were collected throughout the six day conference and we invite you to endorse the Declaration which will be used in our effort to continue to advance the inclusion of housing in the global discourse on healthcare for people living with HIV/AIDS.
The International Declaration on
Poverty, Housing Instability, and HIV/AIDS
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of him [or her] self and of his [or her] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his [or her] control.
- Article 25, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Whereas adequate and secure housing has long been recognized as a basic human right,
Whereas growing empirical evidence shows that the socioeconomic circumstances of individuals and groups are equally or even more important to health status than medical care and personal health behaviors,
Whereas in the case of HIV/AIDS, the link between poverty and disparities in HIV risk and health outcomes is well established, and new research findings demonstrate the direct relationship between inadequate housing and greater risk of HIV infection, poor health outcomes and early death,
Whereas poor living conditions, including overcrowding and in extreme cases, homelessness, undermine safety, privacy and efforts to promote self-respect, human dignity and the attendant responsible sexual behavior,
Whereas the lack of stable housing directly impacts the ability of people living in poverty to reduce HIV risk behaviors and homeless and unstably housed persons are two to six times more likely to use hard drugs, share needles or exchange sex than similar persons with stable housing,
Whereas, in spite of the evidence indicating that adequate housing has a direct positive effect on HIV prevention, treatment and health outcomes, the lack of adequate housing resources has been largely ignored in conferences and policy discussions at the international level, and
Whereas the United Nations, in both its 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, embraced the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programs, treatment, care and support by 2010.
Therefore, we hereby demand that policy makers address the lack of adequate housing as a barrier to effective HIV prevention, treatment, and care; and we further demand that all governments fund and develop housing as a response to the AIDS pandemic.