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AIDS. 1994 Nov;8(11):1593-8.

HIV infection among homeless adults and runaway youth, United States, 1989-1992. Field Services Branch.

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  • 1HIV Seroepidemiology Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30333.



Homeless persons have an increased risk of HIV infection because of a high prevalence of HIV-related risk behaviors. These include drug use, sexual contact with persons at risk for HIV infection, and the exchange of sex for drugs. The objectives of this investigation were to describe HIV seroprevalence rates in homeless adults and runaway youth.


In 1989, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began collaboration with state and local health departments to conduct HIV seroprevalence surveys in homeless populations. Unlinked HIV seroprevalence surveys were conducted in 16 sites; 11 provided medical services primarily to homeless adults, and five to runaway youth aged < 25 years.


From January 1989 through December 1992, annual surveys were conducted in 16 sites in 14 cities. Site-specific seroprevalence rates ranged from 0-21.1% (median, 3.3%). Among homeless adults in three sites, rates were higher among men who had sex with other men and those who injected drugs than among persons with other risk exposures (28.9 versus 5.3%). In general, rates were higher for heterosexual men than for women and higher among African Americans than whites. In sites providing services to homeless youth, HIV seroprevalence rates ranged from 0-7.3% (median, 2.3%).


These data indicate that HIV infection among homeless adults and runaway youth is an important public health problem. HIV prevention and treatment should be integrated into comprehensive health and medical programs serving homeless populations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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