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Most new diagnoses of HIV are among people who struggle with low employment opportunities and housing insecurity.
For those living with HIV, finding employment and housing can be a challenge. Employers may discriminate against people who are HIV positive. People living with HIV may also feel stigmatized and not want to work in an environment where they could potentially injure themselves or have to explain anything about their health.
Beyond HIV-specific barriers, this population also experiences negative social determinants of health that exacerbate the challenges of being HIV-positive.
In 2017, the KC Health Department received funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, HIV/AIDS Bureau to solve the problem of unemployment and housing instability for people living with HIV in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The goals of this program were to:
The HIV Services team delivered an intervention focused on increasing employment and housing stability for people living with HIV.
To help clients gain employment in an occupation that they valued, this team did the following:
To help clients obtain stable housing, this team did the following:
To change the system, this team:
In total, 85 of the most marginalized individuals living with HIV were served by this intervention. Of those, 75.6 percent increased earned income through employment, 75.3 percent have stable housing, 82 percent engaged in medical care, and 69 percent achieved or maintained viral load suppression.
Some individuals in this program have started to meet income thresholds where they are no longer eligible for HIV services provided by federal programs. While this is the original goal of KC Life 360, it also comes with a new set of challenges moving people off the social safety net.
For more information, visit info.umkc.edu/kclife360. The full intervention manual can be used to replicate this intervention for other populations or places.
Together, Kansas City can overcome challenges associated with employment to help all people live happy, healthy lives.
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