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To target HIV risk, define who’s ‘homeless’ – Futurity

(FUTURITY) Bert Gambini-Buffalo, August 17th, 2016 — People who are homeless are at greater risk of HIV infection than those with stable housing. But fuzzy definitions of exactly what homelessness is can make it difficult to target services to reduce those risky behaviors.

Even from a research standpoint, definitions used in various studies lack consistency. A new study suggests how understanding housing histories and the multiple dimensions of homelessness can help better identify who might be at greater risk of transmitting or contracting HIV.

“The homeless population can’t be painted with a broad brush because there will be people within that group who have more stability than others,” says Elizabeth Bowen, assistant professor of social work at the University at Buffalo. “This study came of wanting to break down what it means to be homeless and linking that with HIV risk behaviors.”

The study, published in Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Work, looked specifically at residents of single-room occupancy (SRO) housing in Chicago. Some SRO residents consider themselves homeless, even though they have a place to live, because of concerns about rent increases and an inability to continue to afford even minimal housing.

Source: To target HIV risk, define who’s ‘homeless’ – Futurity