TB and People Experiencing Homelessness

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Background

Homeless

In the United States, 1% of the population experiences homelessness in a given year, but approximately 4% of people with TB disease reported experiencing homelessness within the year prior to diagnosis.

People experiencing homelessness are at an increased risk of becoming infected with TB germs compared to the general population. The increased risk of infection with TB germs is due to several factors that increase a person’s risk of TB disease, including substance use, HIV infection, and the homeless shelter environment such as crowding and the state of the ventilation system. This combination of factors is favorable for spreading TB. In addition, people experiencing homelessness often lack ready access to the medical care required to make an early diagnosis of TB disease.

To address TB among people experiencing homelessness, CDC is:

  • Collaborating with other national and public health organizations to improve screening, diagnosis, and treatment for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Working to improve TB control activities in partnership with healthcare agencies addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

People experiencing homelessness are an important group at increased risk of TB. To achieve TB elimination, ongoing efforts are needed to address the disproportionate number of TB cases among this population. Various resources for homeless shelter staff, health care providers working with people experiencing homelessness, TB programs, and TB patients can be found below.

For Homeless Shelter Staff

The Curry International TB Centerexternal icon database of materials and resources, including presentations.

Rutgers Global TB Instituteexternal icon webinar on strategies for the prevention and control of tuberculosis among people experiencing homelessness.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessnessexternal icon fact sheet on TB and why it is a concern for people experiencing homelessness and those working with homeless populations.

Administrative Controls – TB Control in Overnight Homeless Facilities Quick Reference Guide

For TB Programs & Health Care Providers

CDC’s Latent TB Infection Online Resource Hub with guidelines, education and training resources, and other tools.

The Curry International TB Centerexternal icon website with tools and resources about TB for providers.

Heartland National TB Center’sexternal icon educational flipchart facilitates the work of community outreach and public health workers involved in the care of individuals with TB. The flipchart includes material in English and Spanish.

For Patients - Basic TB Information

CDC’s Basic TB Facts Series provides information in both English and Spanish.

CDC’s Questions and Answers about Tuberculosis provides information in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Pashto, and Dari.

For additional CDC resources on TB:

Find TB Resources is a searchable database of TB-related education and training materials.

Additional CDC Resources on People Experiencing Homelessness

CDC publishes information about TB and people experiencing homelessness.

CDC provides summary data for verified tuberculosis cases in the United States, including TB cases in the homeless population.

The CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) is a reference and referral service for information on HIV, viral hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and tuberculosis (TB).