Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It Can't Happen Here

You know better. You don't have to go to Africa to find people living with HIV who have trouble feeding themselves. Dr. Sheri Weiser reports that about half of homeless people living with HIV in San Francisco report chronic food insecurity, and that, no surprise, they are sicker and more likely to die than people who don't. That doesn't mean they are starving in quite the same way Africans do. They can come up with the calories, usually, but they either have to do it in socially unacceptable ways or they have to eat stuff they'd really rather not. Think dumpster, for example.

Now your friendly neighborhood Republican will tell you that homeless hungry people with HIV are that way because they failed to take personal responsibility, so the Christian thing to do is to let the Free Market™ sort them out. I'm telling you that they got that way because they have a serious mental illness, or are suffering from the effects of serious trauma or abuse.

Dr. Daniel Kidder tells us that food or no food, being homeless isn't good for people with HIV, and also that people without insurance are sicker and die sooner. Another open door crashed through, to be sure, but the point is, there are people in those conditions in all of our cities. We don't have any problem coming up with $270 million a day for the military occupation of a far off country, or a few tens of billions to bail out an investment bank, so maybe we can throw some folks a good hot meal and a clean dry place to crash. I realize that's contrary to anything Jesus taught -- just ask the Christian party -- but I'm willing to blaspheme on this one. Even if some of those people are homosexuals.

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