Housing needs

A person with HIV/AIDS may have particular needs in relation to housing. Their needs will depend on a variety of factors and may fluctuate. Inadequate or unsuitable housing can cause greater hardship to a person with HIV/AIDS.

Ideally a property for a person with HIV/AIDS should be secure, accessible, have reasonable facilities and be large enough to accommodate the person's household and a carer where required.

The exact needs of a person with HIV/AIDS will vary between different individuals and at different stages of the illness. Unfortunately, there is still a high level of misunderstanding in society about the issues particular to people with HIV/AIDS. Advisers should bear this in mind when working with people with HIV/AIDS who are in housing need and be sensitive to the issues which may be relevant to their client.

Furthermore, it is vital to be aware that the housing needs of a person with HIV/AIDS may change and fluctuate. For example, this could be due to a change in medication or symptoms.

Some of the issues which may have a bearing on the housing needs of people with HIV/AIDS include:

  • the need to access consistent and regular health care

  • the medication they are on (if any), including when it is to be taken and how it is to be stored

  • increased risk of other health problems for people who have pre-existing medical problems

  • potential risk of social stigma and problems related to misunderstanding of HIV/AIDS.

This is not an exhaustive list and advisers will come across a variety of other variable housing needs.

What is paramount is that the wishes of the person, together with their individual circumstances, are taken into account so that s/he can keep control of her/his situation. When assisting people with HIV/AIDS to find accommodation, advisers could recommend that particular facilities be available, although in practice this will not always be possible. These facilities should, ideally, include:

  • a high standard of physical security and public safety.

  • affordable rent or mortgage.

  • wheelchair accessibility, both in the home and in the surrounding area.

  • enough room for the use and storage of a wheelchair, drip, etc.

  • close proximity to shopping, public transport, local services, health care and support networks.

  • good bathing and WC facilities.

  • good facilities, including a freezer, washing machine and dryer.

  • central heating.

  • telephone.

  • self-contained accommodation with own entrance.

  • efficient noise and draught insulation.

The health of a person with HIV/AIDS can also be worsened by stress due to the threat or experience of inadequate housing, homelessness, harassment or violence.

This content applies to Scotland

Last updated: 11 December 2019