Homelessness and AIDS

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Homelessness and AIDS

Orange County, California, located south of Los Angeles, is extensively known for dwelling among theme parks such as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Particularly during the late 2000s, homelessness developed into an increasingly sententious issue in the county. Homeless campaigners in the county asses that there are between 12,000 and 15,000 homeless persons throughout the county on any given night (Anonymous, 2004). Perhaps because of the lack of recognition of homelessness as a significant issue, there remains relatively little policy intervention regarding emergency shelter, affordable housing, or other issues specifically associated with homelessness. Across the County, for example, there are only about 1,000 shelter beds available (Orange County HIV Planning Advisory Council, 2006). There has not been a co-ordinated County effort to address homelessness, with many programs extremely vulnerable to the changing nature of federal, state, and private charitable funding sources.

Research on homelessness in Orange County has indicated that it is both similar and distinct from homelessness occurring in urban, metropolitan, ‘inner-city’ areas, such as the Skid Row areas of cities. Similarly to studies of inner-city homeless populations, samples drawn from the Orange County homeless population are largely male and unmarried, with large proportions of newly homeless such as people homeless for less than a year. A large proportion of these homeless persons have lived in the County for long periods of time, many living in the area for five years or longer (Gurza, 2002).

For the layperson, when the topic is an infectious agent that produces human suffering and death, the question of origin becomes confused with the idea of responsibility. In a lot of civilizations, epidemics are seen as unnatural happenings caused by a variety of taboo infringements. Yet in modem Western cultures, victim responsibility and presenting disease as a reprimand from God are common. All through history, sickness has frequently been held liable on “outsiders,” as defined by race, ethnicity, religion, or nationality. In Western cultural concepts, the disease is considered unnatural, and the genesis of disease is best placed as far from “people like us” as possible. “Outsiders” may be humans who are different, or better yet, some other animal species (Weber Et Al., 2006).

By accepting this orthodox view of disease causation, individuals and communities may unwittingly contribute to the spreading of AIDS.

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