Homelessness poses many challenges to managing and maintaining good health. Without access to hygienic living spaces and regular patterns of eating and sleeping, young people can develop health issues such as diabetes, dental problems, infectious diseases such as influenza and hepatitis, and dermatological and respiratory conditions. Unstable and dangerous living conditions make them more vulnerable to morbidity and mortality resulting from assault compared with their hosused peers, like acquired traumatic brain injury. Young people without emotional or financial resources often turn to high-risk coping strategies that are readily accessible. These coping strategies include self-medicating with alcohol and/or other substances and engagement in high-risk sexual behaviors, including survival sex work, the act of engaging in sexual activities to meet an individual’s basic needs such as clothing, food, shelter, security, and safety. These high-risk coping strategies can place homeless individuals at greater risk for contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
The above excerpt was originally published in True Colors United.
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