Housing is Health Care

The Social Determinants of Health

When people have access to all social determinants of health they are able to live healthy and safe lives. Access means we see positive healthy outcomes for Mortality, Morbidity, Life Expectancy, Health Care Expenditures, Health Status, & Functional Limitations. For people living with HIV, Housing is one of the strongest predictors of their access to treatment, other health outcomes, and how long they will live. 

Safe and Stable Housing is just the first step, but an important one, for persons living with HIV to gain access to and benefit from life-saving HIV treatments. 

Resources & Additional Data

Lack of Stable Housing Equals Lack of Treatment Success


People with HIV/AIDS who are homeless or unstably housed:

  • Are more likely to enter HIV care late
  • Have lower CD4 counts and higher viral loads
  • Are less likely to receive and adhere to antiretroviral therapy
  • Are more likely to be hospitalized and use emergency rooms
  • Experience higher rates of premature death

Housing status has more impact on health outcomes than demographics, drug and alcohol use, mental health status or receipt of social services.

Improved Housing is Linked to Better Access to Health Care and Better Health Outcomes


People with HIV/AIDS who have stable housing are much more likely to access health services, attend primary care visits, receive ongoing care and receive care that meets clinical practical standards.

Being stably housed is positively associated with: 
  • Effective antiretroviral therapy (HAART)
  • Viral suppression
  • Lack of co-infection with Hepatitis C or Tuberculosis
  • Significant reductions in avoidable emergency and acute health care
  • Reduced mortality

Homeless people with HIV in Chicago who received a housing placement were twice as likely to have an undetectable viral load 12 months later.

Housing Assistance is HIV Prevention


  • 84% The proportion of unstably housed people with HIV who received a voucher for rental assistance who were stably housed at 18 months.
  • 80% The reduction in mortality among homeless people with AIDS who received supportive housing.
  • 57% The reduction in hospitalizations for people with HIV after they were stably housed.