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Associations between poor health and the homeless can easily be made Poor health is both a cause of homelessness and a result of homelessness Homeless people often suffer from diseases before becoming homeless and they also often acquire infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS due to their environment and living conditions Two of the most common infectious diseases within the homeless community are AIDSHIV and diseases acquired due to a poor immune system because of HIV and tuberculosis It is estimated that 3-20 of homeless people are HIV positive with some subgroups showing higher rates than others A survey of the Health Care for the Homeless program HCH reported that HIVAIDS is increasing among the homeless population and 36 of people with AIDS have been homeless since learning that they had HIV or AIDS Also a Los Angeles study found that two-thirds of people with AIDS had been homeless Up to 50 of persons living with HIVAIDS are expected to need housing assistance of some kind during their lifetimes Many homeless adolescents find that exchanging sex for food clothing and shelter is their only chance of survival on the streets In turn homeless youth are at a greater risk of contracting AIDS or HIV-related illnesses HIV prevalence studies anonymously performed in four cities found a median HIV-positive rate of 23 for homeless persons under age 25 Tuberculosis is also a growing concern in the homeless community Ideally treatment for tuberculosis begins after a skin test signals exposure but before active disease has developed The treatment of is the antimicrobial drug isoniazid INH available since 1956 In infected individuals it is usually used in combination with other antituberculosis drugs such as rifampin pyrazinamide and ethambutol Tuberculosis drugs have to be taken regularly typically for 6 to 12 months Homeless individuals who acquire tuberculosis often are not diagnosed and do not receive treatment early enough and they usually cannot afford a years worth of prescription
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