Homelessness and Health
Homelessness has become an evolving epidemic of our time, and the health implications associated with being homeless makes it that much worse. Homeless people are at major risk for premature death and a wide range of health problems such as HIV, skin blemishes, and much more. It is very difficult for homeless people to fix their health issues due to the difficulty of accessing health care possibly because of missing health cards, or simply because of the stigma placed on them when they enter a public facility. Whatever the problem may be that is forcing more people to become homeless, it must be solved, and quickly before our world turns into a travesty.
Raphael, Dennis (ed.). 2004.
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Many wonder why homeless are at such great risk for HIV infection? Unfortunately the majority of homeless people cluster in urban areas that have high rates of HIV infection, and they often participate in sexual intercourse with multiple partners, with no condom use (El-Bassel & Schilling, 1991). Besides sexual intercourse, another area where HIV infection is spread is through injection of drugs. A study was conducted and it showed that 25% of HIV infected men inject drugs. However the use of cocaine, unprotected sex, and sexual commerce are more common. These drugs offer relief from the feeling of being in poverty/homeless and are a quick fix for their problems, but little do they know that this quick fix has now turned into a long term problem that has no fix. In my opinion, the only way to fix the spread of HIV is to keep going with the programs out there and hope they realize their problem one day. We can’t stop them from having unprotected sex or drug use because we are not there when it happens to stop it. We can continue to hope to minimize the damage, but we must understand that this epidemic will probably never be solved.
Ensign, J. 1998. “Health Issues of Homeless Youth.” Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless 7(3): 159-174.