Housing is an important structural determinant of health. Positive Living, Positive Homes (PLPH) is a longitudinal, qualitative, community-based research (CBR) study conducted in three British Columbian (BC) communities (Prince George, Kamloops, and Greater Vancouver). PLPH has investigated the complex relationship between housing and health for people living with HIV, and how policies and programs across BC interact with health and wellbeing of PLHIV.
In keeping with the tenets of CBR and the greater/meaningful involvement of people living with HIV/AIDS (GIPA/MIPA) principles, in each site, the team engaged people living with HIV, service providers, and other partners to participate as study team members in study implementation, data analysis, and knowledge translation activities.
Between June 2015 and October 2017, 99 adults living with HIV across the three BC study sites participated in baseline in-depth interviews for PLPH, with follow-up interviews one year later (72 people completed the follow-up interviews). In addition, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 42 HIV and/or housing service providers and policy makers working in a range of community and government organizations at the three sites.
A key finding of the study related to the impact of stigma and discrimination across the housing spectrum for people living with HIV. Several participants were denied access to housing upon disclosure of living with HIV. Stigma and discrimination also drove some participants into isolation and away from care and resources related to their health and housing. Given this, the PLPH CBR team recommended that an essential KT tool would be an Online HIV Housing Toolkit that would increase access to housing information for people living with HIV and service providers who support people living with HIV, and ultimately help people living with HIV and service providers better navigate BC’s housing system.
PLPH is led by Dr. Catherine Worthington (Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria) and Evin Jones (Pacific AIDS Network (PAN), which holds CIHR HIV/AIDS CBR operating grant funds for the study (2014 – 2018)). PAN is a member-based coalition with almost 50 member organizations responding to HIV, HCV and related issues across BC. PAN is uniquely positioned to develop and host an Online HIV Housing Toolkit because they have developed and hosted many training and online tools for its member agencies and other key provincial partners.