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Housing Professionals Failing People with HIV

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NAT report highlights the necessity of access to adequate housing for people with HIV

A report released today by NAT (National AIDS Trust), in partnership with Shelter, reveals evidence of poor practice in housing provision for people living with HIV. HIV and Housing finds people living with HIV are struggling to cope with the impact of poor housing and many housing professionals have little understanding of HIV and remain unaware of the effect poor housing can have on the lives of people living with HIV. In some cases outright discrimination was identified.
There are now more than 80,000 people living with HIV in the UK. Research conducted in 2002 showed that over 1 out of 5 people living with HIV had experienced housing related problems in the previous year.
The report identifies that often decisions on the priority given to individuals with HIV for social housing are based on out-of date criteria such as whether or not someone has an AIDS diagnosis or the presence of certain ‘symptoms’. This approach fails to address HIV as a recognised disability and a long-term condition which involves continuing vulnerability and very often fluctuating health.
Case studies throughout the report provide examples of how poor housing can seriously affect the health of someone with HIV.
Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of NAT, comments:
“HIV is an issue that should be on the housing agenda. Our report shows the serious effects poor housing can be have on the health of someone with HIV.
We are not suggesting people with HIV should come at the top of the housing list but housing officials must understand HIV and its effect on people’s lives. Often even simple changes can make a big difference to someone’s well-being.”

A Shelter spokesperson said:
 "The housing needs of people living with HIV are under reported and often overlooked. Bad housing has a serious impact on people's lives and this is further exacerbated if they are also dealing with a long-term health condition. 
Whether it is access to council housing, tackling homelessness or supporting people to stay in accommodation, the particular needs of someone living with HIV must be taken into account."

NAT and Shelter will be producing best practice guidance for housing officers about HIV later in the year.

Notes to the Editor:

For further information please contact:
Katherine Sladden
Communications Officer
020 7814 6733 / 07947 725299

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expert advice and practical resources. We campaign for change.
Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.