Existing research indicates that homeless people engage in behaviors that place them at high risk for HIV infection. Mental and physical illnesses also impose a great burden on homeless people. Not surprisingly, homeless people with HIV are sicker than their domiciled counterparts. Because they are less likely than the general population to have access to medical care, they often lack the treatment they need to manage this complex disease. And when homeless people do succeed in accessing HIV treatment, they sometimes are unable to adhere to prescribed treatment regimens because they lack a regular meal schedule, access to refrigeration, or a safe place to store medicines.
Care for the Homeless integrates outreach, early intervention counseling and testing services, health education and risk reduction, treatment and care coordination for homeless people who are living with HIV/AIDS. Health education, primary care, psychiatric and social services are integrated in a seamless service delivery model.
Care for the Homeless offers HIV Counseling, comprehensive and rapid testing, Referral and Partner Notification services. Additionally, CFH conducts dynamic, interactive health education workshops with clients to ensure clients have access to the information and risk reduction supplies needed to protect themselves from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Care for the Homeless seeks consumer input and advice from the HIV Advisory Council, a board of current or former consumers of our services with a history of homelessness and HIV. The Board meets monthly and its activities have included consultation for agency and city-wide HIV services planning, assisting CFH with identifying service needs and gaps, and ensuring consumers continue to have a voice in policies and issues.
Because of the size and ranges of expertise represented by the CFH medical team, HIV positive youth can easily be linked from a pediatric or youth-oriented provider to an adult provider. The majority of CFH providers that offer HIV services are family practitioners. These providers treat patients across the age spectrum.