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The co-occurrence of AIDS and homelessness: results from the integration of administrative databases for AIDS surveillance and public shelter utilisation in Philadelphia
  1. D P Culhanea,
  2. E Golluba,b,
  3. R Kuhna,
  4. M Shpanerb
  1. aUniversity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA, bCity of Philadelphia Health Department, AIDS Activity Coordinating Office, USA
  1. Dr Culhane, 3600 Market Street, Suite 716, Philadelphia, PA 19104–2648, USA (dennis{at}


STUDY OBJECTIVE Administrative databases from the City of Philadelphia that track public shelter utilisation (n=44 337) and AIDS case reporting (n=7749) were merged to identify rates and risk factors for co-occurring homelessness and AIDS.

DESIGN Multiple decrement life tables analyses were conducted, and logistic regression analyses used to identify risk factors associated with AIDS among the homeless, and homelessness among people with AIDS.

SETTING City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

MAIN RESULTS People admitted to public shelters had a three year rate of subsequent AIDS diagnosis of 1.8 per 100 person years; nine times the rate for the general population of Philadelphia. Logistic regression results show that substance abuse history (OR = 3.14), male gender (OR = 2.05), and a history of serious mental disorder (OR = 1.62) were significantly related to the risk for AIDS diagnosis among shelter users. Among people with AIDS, results show a three year rate of subsequent shelter admission of 6.9 per 100 person years, and a three year rate of prior shelter admission of 9%, three times the three year rate of shelter admission for the general population. Logistic regression results show that intravenous drug user history (OR = 3.14); no private insurance (OR = 2.93); black race (OR = 2.82); pulmonary or extra-pulmonary TB (OR = 1.43); and pneumocystis pneumonia (OR = 0.56) were all related to the risk for shelter admission.

CONCLUSIONS Homelessness prevention programmes should target people with HIV risk factors, and HIV prevention programmes should be targeted to homeless persons, as these populations have significant intersection. Reasons and implications for this intersection are discussed.

  • AIDS
  • homelessness

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  • Conflicts of interest: none.