Challenges HIV-positive youth face
Social Problems
Feeling "old before my time"
Low Self-Esteem
Money Problems


As some of you know, getting kicked out of your house, when your parents find out you have HIV, and living on the streets is hard! Some people get HIV while living on the street from things that put you at risk of getting infected ((like using injection drugs, having unsafe sex).

Having HIV and being homeless can be a very hard thing to deal with. It’s hard to take care of yourself and keep healthy when you don’t have a safe and stable place to live. Taking meds (HIV medication), trying to stick to the difficult schedule of taking the meds on time, and finding a doctor or health care provider who you can talk to are all major challenges when you don’t have a home.

If you are looking to get permanent housing, it’s good to go to a shelter or to a community health centre because the staff can help you get housing.

Tips from other youth about how to survive homelessness and having HIV:

  • When you go to a shelter, you are not legally obligated to tell anyone you are HIV positive
  • Check if you have to turn your meds in with shelter staff. If you decide not to tell staff you are HIV positive, you may want to look into alternatives, such as.

    "I had a car and kept my meds in the car."
    ”I left mine at the local AIDS committee with someone I trusted and came to get them when I needed them.”
    ”I had a friend living close by who kept my meds for me.”

  • Methadone is not allowed in most shelters.
  • When in a shelter, remember to lock up your stuff.
  • If you need a safe place to go or some help storing or remembering to take your meds, ask your local AIDS service organization or youth-serving organization. [Check out Getting Help for organizations in your area.]
  • Look into getting financial support.
  • If you need help getting meds, talk to your doctor about getting financial support.

Hospital for Sick Children University of Toronto Positive Youth Outreach CATIE