Assessing The Prevalence Of Food Insecurity In A Walk-In HIV Testing/Services Center In Southwest Michigan
OBJECTIVE: The primary objective of this study is to assess the prevalence of food insecurity in a population of patients and clients seeking services at CARES (community AIDS Resource and Education Services), a walk-in HIV testing center.
INTRODUCTION: Food insecurity disproportionately affects low-income individuals, communities of color, individuals with and at risk of chronic disease, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender communities. This cluster of identities closely mirrors the demographic clusters at highest risk of acquiring HIV.
METHODS: Clients of CARES at Kalamazoo and Benton Harbor locations responded to a three-question screener assessing for food insecurity, in addition to providing demographic data in clinical intake paperwork. The validated 2-item screener (Hager et al) is used to identify individuals at risk for food insecurity with a 97% specificity. A third question was added to assess for whether a patient is already utilizing services to address food insecurity. The frequency and 95% confidence interval of those who are food insecure is reported. RESULTS: Responses from 56 participants represented 29 different zip codes in Southwest Michigan. Ages ranged from 18 to 68 years with an average (standard deviation) of 38 (13) years. The majority of the respondents, 42 (75%), were cisgender male, while 13 (23%) cisgender female, and 1 (2%) transgender. Responses to the validated 2-question food insecurity screening tool by Hager et al indicate that 51.8% (95% CI .38, .65) are food insecure.
CONCLUSION: More than half of clients seeking services at CARES indicated food insecurity.