Associations Between Alcohol Use and Homelessness with Healthcare Utilization Among Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Veterans

The present article focused on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected veterans and the prevalence of homelessness and alcohol use among this population. Additionally, the study explored how homelessness and alcohol use were related to health care utilization. Participants were 839 HIV-infected veterans from the Veterans Aging 3-Site Cohort Study (VACS-8).

Key Findings:

  • The sample was almost completely male (98.8%) with two-thirds members of minority racial groups. The mean age of participants was 48.7 years.
  • Approximately one-third of the sample was either currently (7%) or previously (25.3%) homeless.
  • There were significant differences in rates of hazardous drinking reported by participants who had never been (17.3%) homeless and those who were currently (34.4%) or had been (26.4%) homeless.
  • A relationship was found between reports of fewer than two visits to an outpatient clinic and being a hazardous drinker and currently homeless when age, HIV severity, and drug use were controlled for in the analysis.
  • Prior homelessness was associated with a higher likelihood of being hospitalized in the past six months than was never being homeless.