Homelessness and Health: with special focus on sex workers

sw_condom_1 by jppiKhosravi, Leila. 2010. Homelessness and Health: with special focus on sex workers. Ellesmere Port: Healthy Inclusion (0)

Background:  Any person, at any one point of time, is only ever a few steps away from being homeless. Women are very vulnerable on the streets, often leading to sex working in order to fund their substance addiction or merely to survive. Alongside such unpredictable lifestyles come predictable health problems. Health services as well as other beneficiary services must ensure that they are providing what is needed and when it is needed in order the effectively meet the health requirements of these groups. This will in turn help to close the health inequality gap prevalent between marginalised groups such as the homeless and sex workers and the National Health Service.
Aims: This report will aim to identify the present key health problems within the general homeless population followed by specifically the female sex (street) workers. It will review the key statistics and reports on homelessness.

Method: A full search was carried out on NHS Evidence, using all the major databases and using controlled vocabulary and natural language to maximise the search retrieval. A book search was also carried out as well as primary research from personal visits to the services within Liverpool. Numerous topical articles were read and the most relevant article has been critically appraised.

Results: There is much evidence leading to poor health amongst the homeless and street workers. With many policies now focusing on health inequalities, street workers especially are yet to be prioritised even though they are one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

Conclusion: Although there are a lot of services working with such vulnerable groups, it seems there is still a significant gap between these groups and the health system. Health services need to liaise more closely with non–NHS services. It is also essential that governmental statistics, such as the rough sleeper count begin to uncover the true numbers by changing their methods. Only then can services be allocated effectively.

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