Objectives: Both homelessness and incarceration are associated with housing instability, which in turn can disrupt continuity of HIV medical care. Yet, their impacts have not been systematically assessed among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). Methods: We studied a retrospective cohort of 1,698 New York City PLWHA with both jail incarceration and homelessness during 2001-05 to evaluate whether frequent transitions between jail incarceration and homelessness were associated with a lower likelihood of continuity of HIV care during a subsequent one-year follow-up period. Using matched jail, single-adult homeless shelter, and HIV registry data, we performed sequence analysis to identify trajectories of these events and assessed their influence on engagement in HIV care and HIV viral suppression via marginal structural modeling. Results: Sequence analysis identified four trajectories; 72% of the cohort had sporadic experiences of both brief incarceration and homelessness, whereas others experienced more consistent incarceration or homelessness during early or late months. Trajectories were not associated with differential engagement in HIV care during follow-up. However, compared with PLWHA experiencing early bouts of homelessness and later minimal incarceration/homelessness events, we observed a lower prevalence of viral suppression among PLWHA with two other trajectories: those with sporadic, brief occurrences of incarceration/homelessness (0.67, 95% CI = 0.50,0.90) and those with extensive incarceration experiences (0.62, 95% CI = 0.43,0.88). Conclusions: Housing instability due to frequent jail incarceration and homelessness or extensive incarceration may exert negative influences on viral suppression. Policies and services that support housing stability should be strengthened among incarcerated and sheltered PLWHA to reduce risk of adverse health conditions.
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