Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Homelessness, Mental Illness, HIV: Missing links

A post in the Burnt Orange Report (BOR) caught my eye last Friday, partly because it touched on a topic of interest (homelessness) but also because there was an active discussion of the issue, which allowed for the airing of some interesting perspectives. I was particularly pleased to see the acknowledgement that homelessness is all too often linked with mental illness and the self-medication that leads to substance abuse. One link that was missing in the discussion was the role of HIV.

According to SAMSHA:

Epidemiological estimates indicate that about one-third of all homeless, single adults have severe and persistent mental illness and have marked neuropsychological impairments in attention, executive functioning, verbal memory, and general intellectual functioning. Substance use and abuse estimates are extremely high for homeless adolescents and adults, including alcohol and injection drug use (ranging from 20-80%). Available data suggest that in major urban areas, 10-20% of homeless persons who suffer from chronic mental illnesses are infected with HIV.
AIDS Housing of Washington explains why:

People with serious mental illnesses may be at increased risk for HIV infection. Reasons include higher rates of drug and alcohol use associated with high risk behaviors, a lack of safer sex education designed for people with major mental illnesses, and the increased vulnerability of people with mental illnesses to sexual assault and abuse, including in institutional settings. A study released in 2001 found that nearly half of people receiving care for HIV had a psychiatric disorder. Studies have also shown that depression is two to three times more common in people receiving HIV care than in the general population, affecting 22% to 32% of the total.
BOR points out that the National Coalition for the Homeless ranks Houston and Dallas among the top 10 meanest cities in the country if you're homeless. (Go read it.) Sounds like some city fathers (and mothers) are also missing the link. Dallas bulldozes homeless "housing" when it's too visible; Houston has a thing about BO (the smelly kind, not BOR) and bans sitting on the sidewalk. Meh.

1 comment:

Matilda Morgan said...

Dr Zuma zuk is the only Dr who could ever get my HIV-AIDS cured with his healing spell, i have tried almost everything but i couldn't find any solution on my disease, despite all these happening to me, i always spend a lot to buy a HIV drugs from hospital and taking some several medications but no relieve, until one day i was just browsing on the internet when i come across a great post of !Michelle! who truly said that she was been diagnose with HIV and was healed that very week through the help of these great powerful healing spell doctor, sometime i really wonder why people called him Papa Zuma zuk, i never knew it was all because of the great and perfect work that he has been doing that is causing all this. so i quickly contacted him, and he ask me some few questions and he said a thing i will never forget that anyone who contacted him is ! always getting his or her healing in just 6 hours after doing all he ask you, so i was amazed all the time i heard that from him, so i did all things only to see that at the very day which he said i will be healed, all the strength that has left me before rush back and i becomes very strong and healthy, this disease almost kills my life all because of me, so i will to hospital to give the final test to the disease and the doctor said i am HIV negative, i am very amazed and happy about the healing Dr Zuma zuk gave to me from the ancient part of Africa, you can email him now for your own healing too at:
thank you sir for healing me from HIV, i am Matilda Morgan