High rates of HIV, HCV, and HBV among Homeless US Military Veterans Were Presented
Homeless individuals are at particularly high risk of infection with HIV, HCV, and HBV due to overlapping risk factors, including mental health disorders and substance abuse. Investigators from the Department of Veterans Affairs have analyzed data from the Veteran Affairs Corporate Data Warehouse.
“Veterans who use homeless services clearly comprise a population with increased prevalence of HIV, HCV, and HBV,” explain the researchers. “A veteran’s involvement with homeless services provides a unique opportunity for engagement with other healthcare services, potentially using an integrated, co-located clinic model in a comprehensive approach.”
According to the study report published in the online edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, in 2015, approximately 243,000 veterans received homeless services, and 5,425,000 non-homeless veterans were in care. Homeless veterans were younger, with a large proportion identifying as black, fewer identified as white and a higher percentage were female.
Prevalence of HIV, HCV and HBV in tested patients was higher in homeless compared to non-homeless veterans: HIV, 2.3% vs 1.5%; HCV, 15.3 vs 4.5%; HBV, 1.8% vs 1.3%.
“The unique structure of Veterans Affairs allows for the integration of healthcare delivery with homeless services to better meet the needs of homeless veterans living with HIV, HCV, and HBV moving forward,” concludes the authors of the study.