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Rajabiun S, Davis-Plourde K, Tinsley M, Quinn EK, Borne D, Maskay MH, Giordano TP, Cabral HJ. Pathways to housing stability and viral suppression for people living with HIV/AIDS: Findings from the Building a Medical Home for Multiply Diagnosed HIV-positive Homeless Populations initiative. PLoS ONE. 2020 Oct 1; 15(10):e0239190.
BACKGROUND: People with HIV with co-occurring substance use and mental health diagnoses who are unstably housed have poorer outcomes for retention in care and viral suppression. Navigation models are a potential strategy to help this vulnerable population obtain the necessary medical and non-medical services across multiple service systems. The Health Resources and Services Administration''s Special Projects of National Significance: "Building a Medical Home for Multiply-Diagnosed HIV-positive Homeless Populations initiative 2012-2017 found that navigation models may be an effective intervention to support people with HIV with unstable housing improve HIV health outcomes. However, there is limited information about the mechanisms by which this intervention works. In this article, we explore the participant and program factors for achieving stable housing at 6 months and how these factors influence HIV health outcomes. METHODS AND FINDINGS: This was a prospective study of 471 unstably housed people with HIV enrolled in a navigation intervention across nine sites in the United Stated from 2013-2017. All sites provided HIV primary medical care. Eight sites were located in urban areas and one site served a predominantly rural population. Two sites were federally qualified health centers, three were city or county health departments, one site was a comprehensive HIV/AIDS service organization, and three sites were outpatient or mobile clinics affiliated with a university -based or hospital system. Data were collected via interview and medical chart review at baseline, post 6 and 12 months. Type and dose of navigation activities were collected via a standardized encounter form. We used a path analysis model with housing stability at 6 months as the mediator to examine the direct and indirect effects of participant''s socio-demographics and risk factors and navigation on viral suppression and retention in care at 12 months. Housing stability at 6 months was associated with male gender, younger age, viral suppression at baseline, having a lower risk for opiate use, recent homelessness, lower risk of food insecurity, and a longer length of time living with HIV. Participants who increased self-efficacy with obtaining help by 6 months had significantly higher odds of achieving housing stability. Stable housing, fewer unmet needs, moderate to high risk for opiate use, and viral suppression at baseline had a direct effect on viral suppression at 12 months. The intensity of navigation contact had no direct effect on housing stability and a mixed direct effect on viral suppression. Recent diagnosis with HIV, women, greater social support, increased self-efficacy and higher intensity of navigation contact had a direct effect on improved retention in HIV primary care at 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: In this sample of people with HIV who are experiencing homelessness, housing stability had a significant direct path to viral suppression. Navigation activities did not have a direct effect on the path to housing stability but were directly related to retention in care. These results identify key populations and factors to target resources and policies for addressing the health and social unmet needs of people with HIV to achieve housing stability and HIV health outcomes.