The Solution

I am proposing to work specifically with the current seven homeless shelters in Santa Ana: San Miguel Residence I and II, Mercy House (Emmanuel and Regina House), Mary’s Shelter, Laura’s House, and Grace House. There I plan to set up an awareness program and a bi-monthly HIV testing using Oraquick. These institutions house the homeless for at least two weeks so having a doctor come around testing the homeless would be the most efficient way of doing things. The reason why doctors have to specifically be the ones to test the people is because they are the only ones who can order the OraQuick devices. However, it could be possible to have trained nurses rotate around the city to test the impoverished. In order for this operation to be successful, at least two doctors in all of Santa Ana will donate their time to help with this service. Moreover, these would not have to be the same doctors every time and they would not have to go to every single homeless shelter that same day; they would be able to visit them at different times and different days. The only thing that would matter though is that all of the shelters have to be visited by a doctor at least once every two weeks. Also, Santa Ana is not a gigantic city; it is only about seventy-one kilometers squared; Utica is a little over forty-two kilometers squared, so you can see that it is not a major city like Los Angeles that is over 1,290 kilometers squared.

            The second part of this program is to have mandatory classes on AIDS. This class would meet two days, an hour each. In this crash course the people would be taught what HIV/ AIDS is exactly and what are the risk factors that could lead to somebody getting infected. In the Journal of Urban Health there is an article called “Immigration and HIV/ AIDS in the New York Metropolitan Area.” The article states that most of the people that were in their study knew little about HIV; there is even one quote that said “The majority of men associated risk of infection with whether or not they ‘knew’ their sex partner” (6).  This causes a problem because most of the immigrants are more likely to have no health insurance; about one third of the US immigrants have no health insurance and they are the ones who are at most risk (6). The reason to have the classes is to clear up all the misconceptions of how one can obtain HIV/ AIDS and make people aware of the risk of disease. Moreover, by having these mandatory classes, people will be aware of how to stop spreading the virus, which in turn will reduce the amount of AIDS cases. Reducing the AIDS cases is the sole purpose of having this whole program. The other thing that would be done is handing out free condoms at the shelters. This way people will not have an excuse to not practice safe sex, which in turn will reduce the AIDS cases and the spread of HIV. It would be most probable that people that are aware of how the disease is spread and handing out free condoms at the centers would decrease the rate of AIDS cases.

            How will this affect the economy of our government? This will not cost the government anything at all. The way that this testing will occur is that it will be a part of the shelter’s tuition. The way that these shelters work is that you pay the tuition at the end of the program and still be a full participant of the program. This shelter program helps homeless people get jobs and get their lives back on track. The testing costs could be augmented to the tuition that the people to pay at the end. The test only costs between forty and fifty dollars (7). Thus, it would not make a big difference in the tuition since this price could be paid later with the tuition of staying in the shelters. As for the classes, volunteers from the AIDS organization can come and give classes at a specific shelter. The class would occur at Mercy House and members of the other facilities would be required to attend. For those that would not be able to get there on their own, there would be communal vans going to the designated house. The people who want their sexual orientation to be kept out of the public could get tested at the centers, but they would have to pay the full price upfront. As for the mandatory classes, they would have to pay only thirty dollars more to help pay for the services that the shelters and the government are doing. Attending these classes would not necessarily reveal anything about themselves since the people who will attend the classes will include people who are heterosexual, bisexual, and heterosexual. This way they will also be able to participate in the benefits of this program.