Health Research of Vulnerable Urban Populations

Up to half of all Canadians with HIV also have hepatitis C, with co-infection highest among injection drug users. Dr. Anita Palepu is researching the impact of drug and alcohol use among people co-infected with HIV and hepatitis C on their adherence to HIV treatment and on treatment outcomes. Dr. Palepu, who focuses on health and social problems faced by vulnerable urban populations such as drug users and homeless people, is also examining the role of addiction treatment in clinical outcomes. In a related project, she is conducting a quality of life study with vulnerable populations such as injection drug users, homeless people and street youth to assess the effectiveness of interventions intended to improve their lives. Dr. Palepu is also part of a national network of researchers evaluating the effects of programs designed to prevent homelessness, or help people exit homelessness, on the health of those considered “hard to house.” The research could inform health and social policies and ultimately help improve the health of vulnerable urban populations.