Monday, February 2, 2009

health issues and homelessness

Everyday I am amazed by the number of people who come into the drunk tank with serious health issues who are on no medications other than pain killers.  When a person is intaked we have to ask them about health issues as well as their medications so that if anything happens we have complete information to give the paramedics and we can chose to monitor them more closely if we're concerned.  

The one the bothers me the most is the number of people I work with who have untreated HIV.  Of course, there is no cure for AIDS, but in today's day and age there are effective ways of controlling it. Antiretrovirals should be assessable for everyone in Canada considering we have public heathcare and government funded prescriptions for those who cannot afford medications.  And they are, but there's a segment of the population that is totally missed.  I'm not going to blame this on the healthcare system.  Well, that's not completely true, I think there is more the healthcare system could be doing, but I also see tons of good things going on and this isn't going to turn into a rant about the heathcare system.   

Today, I'm going to write about personal responsibility.  Oh, I agree there are many barriers facing the homeless, and I will write for hours about them, but not today.  The truth is, people need to take responsibility for taking their medications.  Of course there are a variety of reasons why they don't, but seriously, if you're HIV positive, take your meds, it's really not that hard!  If you don't have meds, go to one of the MANY clinics available to you and get on some.  

One sad fact though, after talking to some people about this, one of the reasons many people don't take their meds, is because they don't care if they live or die, or they simply want to die.  Many people are so beaten down that they just don't care anymore.  You can't make someone care.  A doctor can prescribe all the meds in the world, but they can't make that person fill the prescription, and even if it's filled, they can't make them take their meds.  We can provide all the HIV education in the world, but it doesn't provide a sense of self esteem and self worth.  

Health is a lot more complicated then diagnosis and prescriptions... 

2 comments:

Reas Kroicowl said...

Darling, I think you just answered your own rant. ;)

Still Dreaming said...

Yeah, I probably did Reas...