Introduction: HIV infection is increasingly characterized as a chronic condition that can be managed through adherence to a healthy lifestyle, complex drug regimens, and regular treatment and monitoring. The location, quality, and/or affordability of a person's housing can be a significant determinant of his or her ability to meet these requirements. The objective of this systematic review is to inform program and policy development and future research by examining the available empirical evidence on the effects of housing status on health-related outcomes in people living with HIV/AIDS.
Methods: Electronic databases were searched from dates of inception through November 2005. A total of 29 studies met inclusion criteria for this review. Seventeen studies received a "good" or "fair" quality rating based on defined criteria.
Results: A significant positive association between increased housing stability and better health-related outcomes was noted in all studies examining housing status with outcomes of medication adherence (n = 9), utilization of health and social services (n = 5), and studies examining health status (n = 2) and HIV risk behaviours (n = 1).
Conclusions: Healthcare, support workers and public health policy should recognize the important impact of affordable and sustainable housing on the health of persons living with HIV.