On May 23, our Advocacy Committee hosted an HIV Housing Advocacy meeting to finalize a list of advocacy asks we’re making to the City of Atlanta. The convening of Housing Opportunities for People Living with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) service providers and interested parties aims to ensure higher levels of communication, transparency, accountability, and standardization among providers, partners, as well as the city of Atlanta. The goal, above all else, is to provide the best care possible for unstably housed people living with HIV.
The basis for Living Room’s advocacy and work recognizes that homelessness drives metro Atlanta’s HIV epidemic. Stable housing is a critical piece of a successful HIV prevention strategy. For example, data suggests that:
Homelessness increases risk for HIV, even when controlling for mental health, substance abuse, and access to other services.
Homelessness increases HIV risk behaviors, such as condomless sex and injection drug use.
HIV prevention strategies are proven to be less effective with people who are unstably housed (NAHC).
Additionally, housing is healthcare for people living with HIV. People living with HIV who are unstably housed are more likely than those stably housed to:
Enter into HIV care late and delay treatment, making HIV infection harder to manage.
Have compromised immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to other infections and cancers.
Lack access to medication and are unable to take it as prescribed.
Be hospitalized and use the emergency room.
Die from AIDS-related complications.
So What’s Next?
Once feedback from this meeting has been reflected in the final advocacy agenda, the document will be sent out to all agencies and advocates to sign on. Next list of advocacy asks will be submitted to the City of Atlanta.