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The impact of housing on HIV status

July 16, 2014

The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) has received a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse to study different housing models for HIV-positive, chronically homeless individuals.

Julia Dickson-Gomez, Ph.D.; and Steven Pinkerton, Ph.D., both professors of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at MCW and researchers at the Center for AIDS Intervention Research (CAIR), are co-primary investigators of the grant. They will partner with the Center for Health and Housing in Chicago.

There is a clear link between homelessness and HIV, particularly among individuals with serious mental illness and substance use disorders. Supportive housing, which is permanent, subsidized housing with supportive services, has been offered to this population. There are many different supportive housing programs, but no studies have compared the relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of these different models in terms of reducing sexual and injection risk, substance use, adherence to treatment, or housing satisfaction and stability.

In this study, the investigators will use comparative effectiveness research to compare the existing interventions to ascertain which interventions are most successful, and for which populations in specific contexts.

The Center for AIDS Intervention Research at MCW is one of five HIV prevention research centers in the United States funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. CAIR’s missions are to conceptualize, conduct, and scientifically evaluate the effectiveness of new intervention strategies to prevent HIV infection in populations vulnerable to the disease. CAIR’s research also develops improved strategies to promote health and alleviate adverse mental health consequences among persons living with HIV. CAIR is committed to disseminating its findings both to the scientific community and to public health providers so they benefit from Center research.

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