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Infections and Homelessness: Risks of Increased Infectious Diseases in Displaced Women

Authors

  • Bassam H. Rimawi,

  • Meena Mirdamadi,

  • Joseph F. John Jr.


Abstract

Homelessness is a major problem that affects every continent on the globe, with estimates of up 100 million people worldwide who are homeless at any given time. Of concern, homeless women may be placed at higher risk for certain stressors, such as assault or rape, and for conditions that may lead to immunosuppression, such as malnutrition and a lack of medical attention for different infections, untreated cancers, and exposure to immunocompromising diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis. Equally important, women in particular, when displaced, are less likely to seek medical attention for the diagnosis and treatment of their infections. This lack of medical attention can lead to further immunosuppression and even death. In this article, our goal is to focus on the problem of infectious diseases in homeless persons, highlighting those issues unique to homeless women. New policies need to be addressed to decrease homelessness and to improve the lives of homeless individuals, in particular women.

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