“Under My Umbrella”: The housing experiences of HIV positive parents who live with and care for their children in Ontario
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Positive Spaces, Healthy Places (PSHP) is the first longitudinal community-based research (CBR) initiative in Canada to examine housing stability and its relationship to health related quality of life (HRQOL) for people living with of HIV/AIDS (PHAs). As part of our mixed method data collection strategy in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 PHAs across Ontario to provide a deeper understanding of the impact that housing instability has on their mental and physical health. Emerging from the qualitative interviews were the unique issues and concerns that were reported by parents who live with and care for their children. These parents face dire housing, economic and social challenges that are associated with significant risks for poor health outcomes. Poor housing conditions, unsafe neighborhoods, barriers to supports for themselves and their children, HIV related stigma, discrimination, racism, and poverty have been identified by these families as being among their most pressing concerns. This results in increased stress and anxiety that has a negative impact on the mental health of HIV positive parents. In order to more effectively support HIV positive parents and their children, health and social service practices and policies must respond to the unique challenges that face these families.
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