XIX International AIDS Conference

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MOPE607 - Poster Exhibition


Supportive social services for women: essential to improved health outcomes in the United States

A. Yager

HIV Law Project, New York, United States

Background: Nearly two-thirds of all women living with HIV/AIDS report incomes below $10,000 a year, compared with 41% of men living with HIV/AIDS. Further, three-quarters of women living with HIV/AIDS live with minor children, compared to only one-third of their male counterparts. These socio-economic factors correlate with differences in health outcomes. Research suggests that women living with HIV experience increased difficulty accessing care relative to men, and HIV-associated death rates among women surpass those among similarly aged men. Supportive services, such as transportation, food, and housing are essential to ensuring that women are able to access the care and treatment they require.
Methods: We compiled a review of research studies on the positive health impacts of supportive services for women, with a focus on housing, case management, mental health care, food services, childcare and mothering supports, transportation, and legal services.
Results: Supportive services improve individual health, and in turn improve public health by lowering transmission rates. They also reduce risk behaviors, connect diagnosed individuals to care, and help them to remain in care and adhere to a treatment regimen. Social services that promote these outcomes keep people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) healthy, prevent transmission, and reduce medical costs.
Conclusions: In order to improve individual and public health, we must further invest (not cut our investment) in supportive social services. Ryan White must continue to keep these services a priority, and states should be incentivized to fund these services, and/or make them Medicaid-billable services.

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