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STDs and the Homeless: What Can Government Officials Do To Help?

In 2013, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS named the homeless community as one of the 12 populations being left behind in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This hasn’t changed much in the last six years. Multiple studies have recently noted the correlation between homelessness and at-risk behavior. Unfortunately, the correlation can also be applied to other STDs and STIs.

The cost of healthcare and the sheer amounts of homelessness in the United States make this issue very difficult to address. There are 554,000 people with no roof over their head on any given night in America, and 144,000 of those deal with mental illnesses. This is instrumental in keeping people in cycles of self-destructive behavior and poverty.

Government officials are in a unique position to help in the fight against STDs in homeless communities. These officials have the ability to work within our existing legal systems to make structural changes, and they often have access to powerful resources. These individuals can not only help to treat STDs but rehabilitate those who have been infected as well.

Bringing STD Care to the Homeless

Though HIV and AIDS run rampant through impoverished communities, proper diagnoses and treatments are scarce. Notably, the rising cost of healthcare has put treatment further out of reach for at-risk populations and increased the frequency of these diseases in general. The amount of sexual wellness resources in poor neighborhoods also tends to be less than those with wealth.

In order to address this, government officials can work to bring free testing and treatment to poor communities. Additionally, they can do all in their power to offer comprehensive sex education and no-cost contraception. This can be done by rallying funding from donors and distributing it to clinics, shelters, and community centers.

Part of the necessary education for those who are at risk is ensuring that they know when and how often they can receive a screening. They should know that it's never a mistake, a waste of time, or something to be ashamed for. Additionally, testing should be provided every 3 to 12 months for sexually active adults. With this help, a homeless population may be able to withstand the pitfalls sexually transmitted diseases bring. But this is only the first step in addressing the problem.

Meeting Basic Human Needs

Homelessness is often a cycle that stems from poor mental health and destructive habits. And people react in self-destructive ways without having their basic needs met. These basic needs include food, water, clothes, rest, shelter, and physical security. Without them, they can learn a sense of hopelessness and frustration.

Unfortunately, food banks are struggling to meet the demand of overwhelmingly large homeless populations. Government officials would do well to enact larger programs to bring nourishment and health resources to these communities, similar to what Grand Central Coalition has done. Finding people who want to run programs like this and helping them in whatever way is necessary to improve resource access.

Government officials can do a great deal of good by ensuring that there is necessary shelter and housing within impoverished communities. Survival and comfort may afford them the energy to change their situations. Rest is necessary for strength, so having a place to lay one's head -- even temporarily -- may lead them into a better position to take charge of their lives.

Empowering the Homeless Community

Once someone's basic needs are met, government officials can take action to empower them. This means helping them become capable to make their own decisions and become self-sufficient. In the case of the STD epidemic, it means teaching people to take responsibility for their bodies and actions, instilling healthy habits within them.

This goes beyond sexual resources and is cause for rehabilitatory education. Helping those who are homeless find jobs and schooling, as well as teaching them how they can get health insurance, should be our ultimate goal. There are a number of social programs that work to do this, which government officials can organize. Some of them, listed by the National Transitional Jobs Network, include individual placement support, contextualized basic adult education, adult education bridge programs, and sector-based training.

So the effects and prevalence of STDs in the homeless community may be curbed, but not before proper sexual care and education has been provided. The basic needs of food and shelter must also be present with the aforementioned rehabilitory resources, because STDs are representative of a greater problem. By enacting the proper programs, government officials can decrease the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in the homeless community and help to treat homelessness as a whole.

Posted by jhamilton at September 4, 2019 2:22 PM
Comment #448076

Not sure what the solution is, but 7 cities where the problem of homelessness is the worst, are Democrat-run cities (as of 2018):

  • (01) ################################## 79K (NYC,NY)
  • (02) ###################### 50K (LA, CA)
  • (03) ##### 12K (Seattle,WA)
  • (04) #### 9K (San Diego,CA)
  • (05) ### 7K (San Diego,CA)
  • (06) ### 7K (D.C.)
  • (07) ### 7K (San Francisco,CA)
Chicago is another Democrat-run city, where dozens of people are wounded or killed each week (despite very strict gun-laws).

So, whatever they are doing doesn’t seem to be working.

Posted by: d.a.n at September 5, 2019 8:48 AM
Comment #448098

They’re using cities as vote farms. They don’t care about their standard of living, just how many they can cram into one area.

It’s kind of like the Gaza solution.

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