Infectious Diseases

Homelessness has an impact on the spread, severity and treatment of infectious diseases. Due to the difficulties in maintaining personal hygiene and adequate nutrition, people experiencing homelessness are more vulnerable to illness than the general population. Additionally, having to stay in overcrowded and sometimes poorly ventilated spaces with other vulnerable people also raises the likelihood of spreading infectious diseases. Complicating facotrs include transitioning between prison and homelessness, engaging in sex work and using intravenous drugs also increases the risk for infectious diseases to spread. 

Treatment of infectious diseases among people experiencing homeless is complicated by the fact that many of them face barriers in accessing health services, lack funds for medication, and may not easily be able to follow treatment schedules. Further challenges include not having ID or a health card, feelings of stigmatization and/or the lack of transportation to health visits. The reality is that people experiencing homelessness have few options but to continue using emergency services or staying in unhealthy environments, which means even if they have access to treatment, they are still at high risk of contracting other infectious diseases.1

In their own words: Natasha | London, UK

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