Common Health Problems

Malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, substance use, and exposure to dangerous or unhealthy living conditions open up people experiencing homelessness to high rates of health problems. Respiratory tract infections are common, and oral and dental health is often poor. Additionally, people experiencing homelessness are at increased risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. In cold weather, the risk of frostbite and hypothermia is substantial, and deaths due to freezing are not uncommon. In hot weather, severe sunburn and heatstroke can occur.1

Disease severity can be remarkably high because of factors such as extreme poverty, delays in seeking care, non-adherence to therapy, cognitive impairment and the adverse health effects of homelessness itself. People living on the streets are particularly prone to develop skin diseases such as cellulitis, impetigo, venous stasis disease, scabies and body lice. Foot disorders such as onychomycosis, tinea pedis, corns and callouses, and immersion foot result from inadequate footwear, prolonged exposure to moisture, long periods of walking and standing, and repetitive minor trauma.2

Learn more about common health problems in:

Brazil, Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Russia, Malaysia, India, Tanzania