Housing and health outcomes of HIV positive persons in the lower Manya Krobo District, Ghana

Eric Tenkorang, Memorial University
Adobea Owusu, University of Ghana
Amos Laar, University of Ghana

Although emerging in Western industrialized societies, research on the links between housing and health outcomes of vulnerable populations, such as those living with HIV/AIDS, has received less attention from scholars and policy makers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This is problematic, especially when the majority of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) reside in SSA, and governments in these parts of the world are the worst violators of housing rights. With very weak and unstable economies in several parts of SSA, including Ghana, persons living with HIV/AIDS are particularly financially vulnerable, may sometimes feel too sick to work and cannot afford decent housing as a result. Notwithstanding, the intellectual discourse on the housing and health nexus has been lacking in several parts of SSA including Ghana. Using survey data collected from 605 HIV+ persons aged 18-50+ from two major hospitals located in the Lower Manya Krobo District of Ghana, this paper examined the effects of housing structure, type and arrangements, housing accessibility and conditions on the physical and psychological health of PLWHAs. Results indicate that, housing has an independent effect on health outcomes, controlling for socio-economic and demographic variables. Respondents living in poor housing structures and deplorable housing conditions had poorer physical and psychological health scores. The findings suggest that it is relevant to think about houses occupied by HIV+ persons as an important source of health inequality—one that increases their morbidity risks. It is recommended that policy makers consider housing as an important element of HIV prevention and care.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session 2