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Facing the Cost of Systemic Social Injustice

August 27, 2012

We know that marginalized groups have borne the heaviest burden of the HIV epidemic. We also know that most of their HIV-related health care costs are paid for by the public sector, and it's expensive. We also know the very marginalization makes it hard to get prevention and treatment resources to the groups that need it most.

Reuters reported last week that homeless people not only have higher prevalence of HIV, tuberculosis, and other infections, but can serve as community reservoirs fueling the spread of infections in the general population.

There are an estimated 650,000 homeless people today in this country - two in every 1,000 Americans. Housing is not just a social justice issue. It's also a public health issue, and we'll have to deal with it if we're serious about ending the HIV epidemic. Social injustice costs us more than we think.

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