Unimaginable health deterioration among the homeless in New York has surprised even the doctors, according to the outcome of a widespread health examination conducted for the Homeless in the city.
According to the latest study, the deaths of the Homeless occur with more frequency than other New Yorkers- with AIDS and substance abuse accounting for one-third of the deaths. The report substantiates evidence of mental health problems and addiction, as the most common ailment of the homeless. More than 100, 000 homeless adults were part of the survey, the results of which would be the basis of prospective health campaigns.
A city epidemiologist, Dr. Bonnie Kerker, who spearheaded the study for the health department has expressed the importance of this multi dimensional study that looks at several health conditions, necessitating relevant focus on deficient areas. The plans for the homeless would primarily cater to treatment programs for drug and alcohol addicts inside homeless shelters, since the study revealed that nearly 69% of hospitalizations among the homeless were due to alcohol consumption, substance abuse and mental illness.
This would mean increased recruitment of workers for conducting the treatment programs that will be funded by the state, proposed to be meted out to three shelters initially and further extended to others shelters.
AIDS is another major concern, as a homeless person was more likely to die from AIDS with women topping the list for AIDS susceptibility. To combat the spread of AIDS, the city has enhanced its checks while also introducing rapid result tests in all homeless shelters. Tuberculosis, the next killer, spreads unchecked amongst the homeless with the incidence of the Tuberculosis infection being 11 times more pronounced among the homeless.
According to Dr Thomas R Frieden, the health commissioner, along with the imminent changes proposed for Aids, Tuberculosis and other health ailments, the city would parallely work out plans to bring down rates of heart disease and cancer by launching more smoking cessation campaigns.