Housing is Healthcare, and it’s HIV Prevention Too — August 21, 2014
It was June 1981 when the AIDS epidemic “officially” began in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported unusual clusters of Pneumocystis pneumonia in five homosexual men in Los Angles. When those first five men were identified, no one was thinking about housing and long term care.
Today, there are more than 1.1 million people living with HIV or AIDS in the U.S. — the highest level ever. This is due to people living longer and the rate of new infections, roughly around 50,000, each year.
Fortunately, thanks to improved medications, people with HIV can live relatively healthy lives if they remain in care and on treatment. We know that access to affordable supportive housing is critical for ensuring ongoing HIV care, and is undeniably HIV prevention.
The treatment regimen is demanding. Someone worrying about where they’re going to sleep tonight simply doesn’t have the capacity to keep up a strict schedule of medications. But it’s so important that they do — when a person is on HIV/AIDS drugs their virus is suppressed and it helps to prevent HIV transmission to others.
Just recently, Clare Housing hit a milestone as all its residents in the assisted living program at Clare Midtown achieved non-detectable viral loads! This is why Clare Housing believes its new vision — an AIDS-free world built on a foundation of equitable access to housing and health care – is possible.
Sounds simple enough, right? The truth is we have a long way to go, and we can’t do it without you.
Clare Housing alone has a waiting list of 200 people that need affordable, supportive housing. We also know that there are more people who are not connected to care and who are unstably housed or homeless in Minnesota.
In order to work towards ending HIV/AIDS, Clare Housing’s new strategic framework calls for continued advocacy for the development of affordable, supportive housing solutions for people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota. We are in an age of transformation where the impossible can become possible.
Clare Housing is at the right place and the right time to offer this critical strategy to helping people live healthier lives and reducing new infections.
Bottom line: housing is healthcare and prevention too. Together, we will make our vision of equity, housing and health a reality.